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64803 >m 






IN 1889 






Hitb jApptnbuea, .Maps, Illustrations, anb an |nbcv 

4 Upon the Russian frontier, where 
The watchers of two armies stand 
Near one another* 


The StcL King in Bokhara 




All rights reserved 






THE nucleus of this book less than one-third of its 
present dimensions appeared in the shape of a series 
of articles, entitled 'Russia in Central Asia/ which I 
contributed to the 6 Manchester Courier ' and other lead- 
ing English provincial newspapers, in the months of 
November and December 1888, and January 1889. 
These articles were descriptive of a journey which I 
had taken in the months of September and October 
1888, along the newly-constructed Transcaspian Rail- 
way, through certain of the Central Asian dominions of 
the Czar of Russia. Exigencies of space, however, and 
the limitations of journalistic propriety, prevented me 
from including in my letters a good deal of information 
which I had obtained ; and were, of course, fatal to the 
incorporation with the narrative of illustrations or 
maps. Written, too, at a distance from works of refer- 
ence, and depending in some cases upon testimony 
which I had no opportunity to verify or support, my 
former articles contained errors which I have since been 


able to correct. These considerations, and the desire 
to place before the public in a more coherent and easily 
accessible shape the latest information about the in- 
teresting regions which I traversed, have encouraged 
me almost entirely to rewrite, and to publish in a more 
careful and extended form, my somewhat fragmentary 
original contributions, to which in the interval I have 
also been enabled to add a mass of entirely new 
material. If the impress of their early character be in 
places at all perceptibly retained, it is because I am 
strongly of opinion that in descriptions of travel first 
thoughts are apt to be the best, and have consequently 
sometimes shrunk from depriving my narrative of such 
vividness or colour as it may have gained from being 
originally written upon the spot. References, figures, 
and statistics, I have subjected to verification ; while 
such sources of contemporary history as relate to my 
subject I have diligently explored. In. tlie absence 
of any Russian publications corresponding to the Blue 
Books and voluminous reports of the English Govern- 
ment Departments, it is extremely difficult to acquire 
full or precise information about Russian affairs. But 
such sources as were open to me in newspapers, articles, 
&c., I have industriously studied. I trust, therefore, 
that substantial accuracy may be predicated of these 
pages ; for, in a case where the inferences to be drawn 
are both of high political significance, and are abso- 
lutely dependent upon the correct statement of facts, I 

nil nil Id hold it, a r*riinp to 


A few words of explanation as to what these chap- 
ters do, and what they do not, profess to be. Their pre- 
tensions are of no very exalted order. They are, in the 
main, a record of a journey, taken under circumstances 
of exceptional advantage and ease, through a country, 
the interest of which to English readers consists no 
longer in its physical remoteness and impenetrability, 
but rather in the fact that those conditions have just been 
superseded by a new order of tilings, capable at any 
moment of bringing it under the stern and immediate 
notice of Englishmen, as the theatre of imperial diplo- 
macy ; possibly quod di avertant omen as the thresh- 
old of international war. Travel nowadays, at least in 
parts to which the railway has penetrated, is unattended 
with risk and is relatively shorn of adventure a de- 
cadence which separates my story by a wide gulf of 
division from that of earlier visitors to the Transcaspian 
regions. These pursued their explorations slowly and 
laboriously, either in disguise or armed to the teeth, 
amid suspicious and fanatical peoples, over burning 
deserts and through intolerable sands. The later 
traveller, as he follows in comparative comfort the 
route of which they were the suffering pioneers, may at 
once admire their heroism and profit by their experi- 
ence. With such forerunners, therefore, I do not pre- 
sume to enter into the most remote competition. 

Nor, again, can I emulate the credentials of others, 
who, without necessarily having visited the country 
itself, have yet, assisted by an intimate acquaintance 


with the Eussian language, devoted years of patient 
application to the problems which it unfolds, and, as 
in the case of Mr. Demetrius Boulger and Mr. Charles 
Marvin in particular, have produced many valuable 
works for the instruction of their fellow-countrymen. 
I did not, however, start upon my journey without 
having made myself thoroughly acquainted with their 
opinions and researches ; nor have these pages been 
written without subsequent study of every available 
authority. The one distinguishing merit that I can fear- 
lessly claim for them is that of posteriority in point 
of time. No work in the English language has ap- 
peared on this branch of the Central Asian Question 
for five years ; and those five years have marked an 
incalculable advance in the character and dimensions 
of the problem. With unimpeachable truth Skobelefl 
once wrote in a letter : 4 In Central Asia the position of 
affairs changes not every hour, but every minute. 
Therefore I say, Vigilance, vigilance, vigilance.' The 
title of my book, 'Russia in Central Asia in 1889,' 
will sufficiently indicate my desire that it should be in- 
terpreted as an account of the status quo brought up to 
date i.e. to the autumn of the year 1889. 

One other claim I make for these pages viz. that 
they approach a problem, which in its reference to 
Englishmen is almost exclusively political, from a poli- 
tical point of view. Central Asia has its charms for 
the historian, the archaeologist, the artist, the man of 
science, the dilettante traveller, for every class, indeed, 


from the erudite to the idle. A wide field of research 
and a plentiful return await the explorer in each of these 
fields. Although I have not been entirely forgetful of 
their interests, and although references to these subjects 
will be found dispersed throughout the volume, I have 
preferred in the main to concentrate my attention upon 
such points as will appeal to those who, whether as actors 
or as spectators of public affairs, feel a concern in the 
foreign policy of the Empire. Earlier travellers, such 
as the Hungarian Vambery, the American Schuyler, 
the French Bonvalot, the Swiss Moser, the English 
Lansdell, have devoted themselves more closely to the 
customs, habits, and character of the natives to what 
I may call the local colouring of the Central Asian 
picture. In these respects I have not aspired to follow 
in their footsteps. It is not my aim to produce a mag- 
nified Baedeker's Handbook to Transcaspia. I assume 
a certain foreknowledge 011 the part of my readers with 
the chronology of Russian advance, and with the nature 
of the conquered regions ; and I endeavour only to 
place clearly before them the present situation of affairs 
as modified, if not revolutionised, by the construction of 
the Transcaspian Eailway ; and so to enable them to form 
a dispassionate judgment upon the achievements, policy, 
and objects of Eussia, as well as upon the becoming 
attitude and consequent responsibilities of England. 

In the three concluding chapters I enter upon a 
wider field and discuss the present aspect of the Central 
Asian problem a question which no writer should 


approach without a consciousness of its magnitude, or 
venture to decide without long previous study. 

In the interest of would-be travellers speaking of 
Central Asia one may still decline to use the word 
tourist I would say in passing, that if they are fortu- 
nate enough to obtain leave from St. Petersburg (no 
merely formal undertaking, as the sequel will show), 
they will do wisely to make the journey as soon as 
they can. Let them not be deterred by exaggerated 
accounts of the inhospitality of the region, or the hard- 
ships of the road. There is enough to repay them for 
any personal inconvenience or material discomfort. 
The present is a moment of unique, because transitory, 
interest in the life of the Oriental countries through 
which the railway leads. It is the blank leaf between 
the pages of an old and a new dispensation ; the brief 
interval separating a compact and immemorial tradition 
from the rude shock and unfeeling Philistinism of nine- 
teenth-century civilisation. The era of the Thousand 
and One Nights, with its strange mixture of savagery 
and splendour, of coma and excitement, is fast fading 
away, and will soon have yielded up all its secrets to 
science. Here, in the cities of Alp Arslan, and Timur, 
and Abdullah Khan, may be seen the sole remaining 
stage upon which is yet being enacted that expiring 
drama of realistic romance. 

I must acknowledge a weight of obligation in many 

To the Royal Geographical Society I am particularly 


indebted for the permission to reprint many of the 
details, contained in a paper on the Transcaspian 
Railway, which I read before that body in March last, 
and which is published in their Proceedings for May ; 
and. still more, for the loan of the map of Central Asia, 
executed under their instructions from the latest in- 
formation supplied by travellers, as well as from English 
and Russian official maps. For the frontier lines, as de- 
lineated therein, I am responsible ; but I believe them 
to be absolutely correct. M. Lessar, now Russian 
Consul-General at Liverpool, and formerly political 
attacJie to the Russian Staff on the Afghan Boundary 
Commission, has placed me under a great obligation by 
the loan of several of the photographs, which have 
been reproduced in this volume ; and by the kindness 
which induced him to peruse my original articles, and 
to supply me with the means of correcting sundry 
errors, as well as of amplifying the information, which 
they contained. 

For the remainder of the illustrations I am indebted 
to the courtesy of Major C. E. Yate, C.S.I., C.M.G., 
recently one of the English Boundary Commissioners 
in Afghanistan ; of Mr. Charles Marvin, who lent me 
some illustrations from Russian newspapers, drawn bv 
the clever pencil of the Russian artist Karazin; and 
of private friends. Of the whole of them I may say that, 
to the best of my knowledge, they are new to English 
readers, and have not previously appeared in any English 
work, or, in fact, in any work at all. 


I must also thank the Editor of the 'Fortnightly 
Review ' for permission to re-avail myself of some of the 
material contained in an article upon Bokhara, which I 
contributed to that magazine in January 1889. 

In the appendix I have included some directions 
for travellers ; a table of distances in Central Asia ; 
a chronological table, drawn up by myself, of British 
and Russian movements in Central Asia in this century, 
which may help to elucidate the narrative ; and a 
Bibliography, which, without pretending to be exhaus- 
tive, claims to include the principal works to which a 
student will find it necessary to have recourse in follow- 
ing the history of British or Russian advance in Persia, 
Afghanistan, Turkestan, and Transcaspia, and in ac- 
quiring some familiarity with the history of those coun- 
tries. I have compiled it with great care, arid with 
much labour, seeing that many of the titles are included 
in no extant collection. 

Finally, let me say that I shall welcome with grati 
tude any corrections that, in the event of a later edition, 
or of further publication upon the same subject, may 
redeem error or impart greater accuracy. 







Russian railways to the Caspian Proposed Vladikavkas-Petrovsk 
line Caucasus tunnel Length of journey Previous travel in 
Central Asia Foreign travellers on the Transcaspian Railway 
'Previous writers on the Transcaspian Railway -Justification 
for a new work Varied interest of Central Asia Political in- 
terest Eussian designs upon India The Frontier Question . 1 



Journey to St. Petersburg Difficulty in obtaining permission Ob- 
servations on Russian character Hostility to Germany and 
the Germans Policy of Alexander III. Russian feeling to* 
wards England Russian feeling towards Austria and France- 
Continuation of journey Permission granted From St. Peters- 
burg to TiflisFrom Tiflis to Baku and the Caspian Approach 
to Uzun Ada 15 



Origin -of the idea of a Central Asian railway Scheme of M. Ferdi- 
nand de Lesseps Attitude of England Idea of a Transcaspian 
railway Adoption of the plan by Skobeleif Completion to 


Kizil Arvat in December 1881 Ideas of further extension 
Opposition to the Transcaspian scheme Extension from Kizil 
Arvat to the Oxus From the Oxus to Samarkand Technical 
information about the line Exclusively military character 
Material of the line Character and pay of the workmen 
Method of construction Cost - Facilities of construction 
Difficulties of water Difficulties of sand Contrivances to resist 
the sands Difficulty of fuel and lighting Rolling-stock of the 
railway Stations Duration and cost of journey ... 34 



Uxun Ada, present and future Start from Uxim Ada Character of 
the scenery The Persian mountains The desert of Kara Knm 
The four oases Vegetation of the oases The Akhal-Tekke oasis 
Statistics of its resources The desert landscape Variations 
of climate Geok Tepe, the old Turkoman fortress- - Story of the 
siege of Geok Tepe Preparations for assault Assault and 
capture, January 24, 1881 Pursuit and massacre of the Turko- 
mans Impression left upon the conquered Skobeleff and the 
massacre His principle of warfare Character of Skobeleff 
His marvellous courage His caprice Idiosyncrasies Anec- 
dotes of his whims Story of the Persian Khan Final criticism 
Turkoman peasants Askabad Government of Transcaspia 
Resources and taxation Buildings of the town Strategical 
importance of Askabad and roads into Persia Use of the rail- 
way by pilgrims to Meshed and Mecca The Atek oasis and 
Dushak Refusal of permission to visit Kelat and Meshed 
Kelat-i-Nadiri The Tejend oasis 03 



Appearance of the modern Merv The Russian town History of 
the ancient Merv British travellers at Merv Russian annexa- 
tion in 1884 Fertility, resources, and population of the oasis 
Administration, taxation, and irrigation Trade returns Future 
development of the oasis Turkoman character Strategical im- 
portance of Merv Ferment on the Afghan frontier arising out 
of the revolt of Is-hak Khan Movements of Is-hak and Ab- 
durrahman Colonel Alikhanoff, Governor of Merv The Turko- 


man militia Possible increase of the force The Turkoman 
horses The Khans of Merv at Baku The ruined fortress of 
Koushid Khan Kala Old cities of Merv Emotions of the 
traveller Central Asian scenery The sand-dunes again 
Description of the ancients Difficulties of the railway The 
Oxus Width and appearance of the channel General Annen- 
koff s railway bridge Its temporary character The Oxus 
flotilla 105 



Continuation of the railway to Bokhara Scenery of the Khanate - 
Approach to the city Attitude of the Bokhariots towards the 
railway New Russian town Political condition of the Khan- 
ate Accession of the reigning Amir Seid Abdul Ahad Aboli- 
tion of slavery Novel security of access History of Bokhara 
Previous English visitors to Bokhara Road from the station 
to the city The Russian Embassy Native population Foreign 
elements An industrial people Bokharan women Religious 
buildings and practice The Great Minaret Criminals hurled 
from the summit Assassination of the Divan Begi Torture 
of the murderer Interior of the city The Righistan The 
Citadel and State prison The Great Bazaar Curiosities and 
manufactures Brass and copper ware Barter and currency- 
Russian monopoly of import trade from Europe Russian firms 
in the city Statistics of trade Effects of the railway Restric- 
tions on the sale of liquor Mussulman inebriety Survival 
of ancient customs Dr. Heyfelder The reshta, or guinea- 
worm of Bokhara Bokharan army Native court and cere- 
monial Tendency to incorporation --Transitional epoch at 
Bokhara 151 




The Zerainhan valley Bokharan irrigation Danger to the city 
Possible reforms Population and fertility of the Samarkand 
district History of Samarkand Description of monuments 
renounced The Russian town Modern public buildings 
Change wrought by the railway Absurd rumour of restoration 
to Bokhara The Citadel Zindaii, or prison The ancient city 
Tomb of Tamerlane -The Kighiutau Laiming minarets 




Material of structure Samples of the best Arabian style 
Ruins of Bibi Khanym Shah-Zindeh Need of a Society for 
he Preservation of Ancient Monuments Sunset at Samarkand 
Russian garrison Population Refuge of political exiles 
Journey to Tashkent The tarantass Stages of the route 
Hums of Afrasiab Bridge of Shadman-Melik Gates of Tamer- 
lane The Waste of Hunger The Syr Daria and approach to 
Tashkent Great fertility The two cities and societies Politi- 
cal banishment General Rosen bach and the peace policy 
Native education Government House Public buildings 
Ancient or native city General Prjevalski and Lhasa Statis- 
tics of population Resources, manufactures, and commerce 
System of government Revenue and expenditure Territorial 
expansion of Russia ......... 204 



Extension to Tashkent Its advantages Bourdalik and Karshi Line 
Tcharjui and Kerki branch Herat extension Merv and 
Penjdeh branch Proposed junction with the Indian railway 
system Grave drawbacks : (i.) Fiscal, (ii.) Political Favour- 
able estimate of the Transcaspian Railway Possible strain in 
time of war Political effects of the railway Absorption of 
Turkomania Influence upon Persia Increased prestige of 
Russia Commercial effects Annenkoff's prophecies Com- 
mercial policy and success of Russia Russian economic policy of 
strict protection Its operation in Central Asia Russian trade 
with Afghanistan Imports and exports Anglo-Indian transit 
trade British trade with Afghanistan Quotation from Foreign 
Office Report Russian monopoly in Northern Persia and 
Khorasan Destruction of British trade with Northern Persia 
Commercial future of the Transcaspian Railway Strategical 
consequences of the line Shifting of centre of gravity in Central 
Asia Greater proximity of base Comparison of present with 
former facilities Russian power of attack Lines of invasion : 
(i.) Caspian and Herat Line Strength and location of the 
Russian forces in Transcaspia Reinforcements from Europe 
Difficulty of Caspian marine transport Latest figures 
Difficulty of landing-places Difficulty of supplies Serious in 
Transcaspia Importance of Khorasan Complicity of Persia 
Addition to offensive power of Russia (ii.) Strength and 
utility of Turkestan ArmyTotal Russian strength for inva- 
sion Strength of Anglo-Indian Army for offensive purposes 



British and Russian reinforcements The issue Russian views 

of the Transcaspiau Hallway as a means of offence . . . 26( 



Existence of the problem Personal impressions Haphazard charac- 
ter of Russian foreign policy Arising from form of Govern- 
ment Independence of frontier officers Responsibility for 
Russian mala fides Compulsory character of Russian advance 
Russian conquest of India a chimera Russian attack upon 
India a danger Candid avowal of Skoboleff Evidence of past 
history Schemes of Russian invasion : (i.) 1791, (ii.) 1800, 
(ill.) 1BC7, (iv.) 1887, (v.) 1855 Gortchakoff -Gran ville agree- 
ment of 1872-78 (vi.) 1878 Skobeloff 's plan for the invasion 
of India Military operations Later movements Subsequent 
schemes Civilian endorsement M. Zinovieff Reality of 
Anglo-Russian question now universally admitted Russian 
illusions about British rule in India Evidence of Russian 
generals Real feeling in India Regrettable Russian ignorance 
Russian lines of invasion : (i.) From the Pamir, (ii.) From 
Samarkand and the Oxus New Russo-Afghan frontier (iii.) 
Upon Herat Corresponding Indian frontier Diagram of the 
two railway systems Comparison of the rival advantages 
England's obligations to Afghanistan Their right interpre- 
tation Jleductio ad absurdum Counter obligations of 
Afghanistan British relations with Afghanistan in the past 
Synopsis of policy pursued Character of Abdurrahman 
Khan His health and the future Suggested partition of 
Afghanistan The Afghan army Sentiments of the Afghans 
towards Russia and England The future of Afghan independ- 
ence Prestige of Russian numbers Policy of appointing 
British officers in Afghanistan Impending developments of the 
Anglo-Russian question (i.) Balkh-Kabul line of advance 
(ii.) Tlu Persian question Russian ascendency and Persian 
weakness Real aim of Russian policy in Persia An eye upon 
the Persian Gulf British policy in rejoinder Opening up of 
Seistan Effects of a Seistan railway Summary of this chapter 



Merits and demerits of Russian rule Abolition of raids and gift of 
security Russian power firmly established Its causes - 




Memory of slaughter Overpowering military strength of 
Russia Certainty that she will not retreat Popularity of 
Russia - Laissez-faire attitude Treatment of native chiefs 

Conciliation of native peoples Defects of Russian character 
Low civilisation Attitude towards Mahometan religion 
Towards native education Bravery and endurance of Russian 
character Military ease of Russian advance Contrast be- 
tween English and Russian facilities Comparative security 
of dominions Beamy side of Russian civilisation Bad roads 

General conclusions as to Russian Government Schemes for 
regeneration of the country Irrigation Diversion of the Oxus 
to its old bed Cotton plantation Sericulture and viticulture 

Colonisation Attitude of Great Britain Responsibilities of * fc 
Russia 382 



RAILWAY ........... 415 " 






1NDKX 49 









PANOR\MA OF BOKHARA ....... 152 














OF BALAKHANI .......... 81 



LAYING THK RAILS .......... 51 



KUM ............ C7 



TURKOMAN KIBITKAS .......... 74 





TURKOMAN HORSEMEN .......... 100 


RUINS OF BAIRAM ALI .......... 1555 

TOMB OF SULTAN SANJUR . ....... 137 



THE Oxus FLOTILLA .......... 149 



JEWS OF. BOKHABA . . , . . . \ . . .173 


MEDRESRE AT BOKHARA . . . . . . . . . 170 

MAIN STREET OF BOKHARV . . . . . . . .381 



PALACE OF THE AMIR .......... '200 


GUR AMIR, OR TOMB OF TAMERLANE . . . . . . . 218 













The dates in this book are reckoned by the English Calendar, or 
New style, being twelve days in advance of the Greek and Russian 
Calendar, or Old style. The rouble is computed as equivalent to 
two shillings in English money. One verst = $ mile. One poud 
(weight) = 36 English Ibs. 




< No pleasure is comparable to the standing upon the vantage-ground of 
Truth.'- BACON. Essay I. Of Truth. 

Russian railways to the Caspian Proposed Vladikavkas-Petrovsk 
line Caucasus tunnel Length of journey Previous travel in 
Central Asia Foreign travellers on the Transcaspian. Kailway 
Previous writers on the Transcaspian Bailway Justification for 
a new work Varied interest of Central Asia Political interest 
Russian designs upon India The Frontier Question. 

I PROPOSE in this book to narrate the impressions Russian 

ill T railways 

derived from a journey along the newly- completed to the 


Russian line of railway from the Caspian to Samar- 
kand. On May 27, 1888, although the line was still 
in a backward condition, and could not certainly be 
described as available for general traffic, the long- 
expected ceremonial of opening took place ; and the 
name 'of General Annenkoff was flawed to all quarters 
of the globe as that of the man who had successfully 
accomplished a feat till lately declared to be impos- 
sible, and had linked by an unbroken chain of steam 



locomotion the capital of Peter the Great with the 
capital of Tamerlane. Along the most direct route 
from St. Petersburg to the terminus at Samarkand 
there exist now only two breaks to the through com- 
munication by rail, viz. the 135 miles of mountain 
road between Vladikavkas on the northern spurs of 
the Caucasus and Tiflis on the south, and the pas- 
sage of the Caspian. 

Proposed The former, it is said, will soon be obviated by a 

kavkas- railway, for which plans and surveys have already 
Lme been made, and which the Eussian Government has 
been strongly petitioned to construct, from Vladi- 
kavkas to Petrovsk on the Caspian, a distance of 165 
miles. The cost of this branch has been estimated 
at an average of 10,000. a mile. From Petrovsk the 
line would be continued south along the western 
shore of the Caspian to Derbent and Baku, at an 
additional cost of 500,000/. Such a line, apart from 
its military advantages, might acquire great com- 
mercial importance, as affording an easy and un- 
interrupted entry into European Eussia from the 
Caspian, the port of Petrovsk being open to naviga- 
tion all the year round, while the Volga is closed by 
ice in the winter. It is a project which we may 
therefore expect to see carried out before Jong. 
Caucasus It has also been proposed, as an alternative, to 

Tunnel . r r ' 

drive the railroad by a tunnel through the heart of 
the main Caucasian range, from Vladikavkas, or a 
point west of Vladikavkas on the northern, to Gori 
on the southern side, where it would join the Batoum- 
Tiflis line, the total distance from point to point being 


110 miles. Shorter and more expeditious as this 
route would be, it would involve long and laborious 
tunnelling, as well as a prodigious outlay, the official 
estimate being over 30,000/. a mile. It is accordingly 
extremely improbable that it will, for some time at 
any rate, be taken in hand. In any case, while either 
line remains unlaid, and the Kazbek range continues, 
as now, to be traversable by road alone, a supplemen- 
tary steam route is provided by the Black Sea Service 
from Odessa or Sebastopol to Batoum, whence the 
railroad runs direct to Baku on the Caspian. 

The second interruption which I named to the 
through transit by rail from the western to the 
eastern terminus, viz. the Caspian, involves marine 
transport, and a short sea crossing of nineteen, which 
might easily be reduced to fifteen or sixteen, hours. 

Even under the present conditions, which in them- Length of 
selves are far from developed, the journey from St. 
Petersburg to Samarkand can be accomplished in ten 
or eleven days, and with a more apt correspondence 
of trains and steamers might easily be accelerated. 
When one or other of the afore-mentioned schemes 
has been carried into effect, two days at least may be 
struck off this total v 

Prior to the construction of this railway the op- Previous 
portunities enjoyed by Englishmen of visiting the centraT 
region which it now lays open had been few and far 
between. Since the intrepid Dr. Wolff penetrated at 
the risk of his life to Bokhara in 1843, to clear up 
the fate of Stoddart and Conolly in the preceding 
year, there was no English visitor to the city of the 

B 2 


Amir till the so-called missionary, Dr. Lansdell, in 
1882. Similarly, before the publication of thelatter's 
book, we owed in the main such descriptions as we 
have in our own language of Samarkand to the pen 
of a Hungarian in the person of Professor Vamb^ry, 
and of an American in that of Mr. Schuyler. As 
regards other parts of the till now forbidden region, 
Merv, though visited by Burnes, Abbott, Shakespear, 
Thomson, and Wolff between 1832 and 1844, relapsed 
after that date into obscurity, and was little more 
than a mysterious name to most Englishmen till the 
adventurous exploit of O'Donovan in 1881 ; and it is 
difficult to realise that a place which less than a 
decade ago was pronounced to be the key of the 
Indian Empire is now an inferior wayside station on 
a Eussian line of rail. Such efforts as were made at 
different times by independent British officers, often 
in disguise and at the peril of their lives, to explore 
the terra incognita on the borders of Persia and 
Afghanistan, were sedulously discouraged by the 
Home or Indian Government, in nervous deference 
to Muscovite sensitiveness, ever ready to take um- 
brage at an activity displayed by others which it has 
ostentatiously incited in its own pioneers. Colonel 
Valentine Baker recalled from the Atrek region in 
1873, Captain Burnaby from Khiva in 1875, Colonel 
MacGregor from Meshed in 1875, and Colonel Stewart 
from Persia in 1881, all attest the mistaken policy of 
abandoned opportunities, and the tactical blunder of 
allowing a rival mariner to steal your wind. 

Although the almost insuperable difficulties 


hitherto connected with travel in these parts have Foreign 

. _ i i TI T travellers 

now disappeared, it cannot be said that all impedi- on the 

rr t 7 . ' . Transcas- 

ments to the iourney have ceased to exist ; while, p| an 

J J ' ' Railway 

even if they had, the necessary resources of explora- 
tion are not such as any but 'a few individuals will 
in all probability possess. The Eussian Government, 
which has always looked with extreme irritation upon 
the intrusion of Englishmen into its Asiatic terri- 
tories, is not likely to have been converted off-hand 
by the cosmopolitan professions of General Aimenkoff, 
and can hardly be suspected of such gratuitous un- 
selfishness as to be willing to turn a purely military 
line, constructed for strategical purposes of its own, 
into a highway for the nations. In the first flush of 
triumphant pride at the completion of the under- 
taking, foreign journalists were, it was asserted, freely 
invited to take part in the inaugural ceremonies. But 
when the complimentary party assembled at Baku, it 
was found to consist, in addition to the relatives of 
General Annenkoff, of Frenchmen alone, who with 
one accord made to their host the becoming return 
of impassioned eulogies in the columns of the Parisian 
press, which in the summer of last year blossomed 
with the record of their festive proceedings. French- 
men have indeed for some time, owing to political 
considerations, been in high favour in Eussia, and 
have long found in their nationality an open sesame 
to the Eussian dominions in the east. Some of the 
best and most recent books of travel about Turko- 
mania and Turkestan, in a language intelligible to the 
average Englishman, have been by French writers, 


who may always, when treating of Eussian affairs, 
be trusted to be enthusiastic and entertaining, even 
though seldom profound. The 4 Times ' corre- 
spondent at St. Petersburg received an invitation to 
join the same company ; but owing to a difficulty in 
procuring the requisite official permission, found him- 
self a few days in arrear of the party, and the line in 
a state of disorganisation bordering on collapse, con- 
sequent upon a strain to which in those early days 
it was as yet unaccustomed. I had the good fortune 
to be a member of the next foreign party that 
travelled over the line, the origin of our enterprise 
being an agreement which was reported to have been 
entered into between General Annenkoff and the 
Compagnie Internationale des Wagon-Lits in Paris, 
and an intimation of which was published in the 
newspapers in the summer of 1888. No very precise 
intelligence about the nature of this agreement was 
forthcoming ; but upon the strength of its announce- 
ment would-be visitors to Merv and Samarkand were 
understood to be converging upon Tiflis shortly before 
the time when I left England in the first days of 
September 1888. 

Previous No English newspaper published a detailed ac- 

count of the new railway except the ' Times * ; but 
the interesting letters of its correspondent, Mr. Dobson, 
which appeared between the months of August and 
October 1888 inclusive, written as they were from 
the point of view of a tourist narrating his personal 
experiences rather than of a politician endeavouring to 
form some estimate of the situation, left an unoccu- 


pied field for later travellers with a more ambitious 
aim. Two short papers on the Transcaspian Eailway 
appeared in the ' Pall Mall Gazette ' in the month of 
May 1888, written by the editor of that journal from 
St. Petersburg. Chapters and pamphlets on the 
railway in its earlier stages are to be found among 
the works of Mr. Charles Marvin. 1 Major C. E. Yate, 
who travelled over the line, while part of it was yet 
in process of construction, from Tcharjui to the Caspian 
in February 1888, on his return from the Afghan 
Boundary Commission, appended a chapter on his 
experiences to his excellent book entitled ' Northern 
Afghanistan.' Professor Vambery also contributed 
an article to an English magazine on the subject in 
1887. 2 An abridged translation of a Bussian pam- 
phlet on the railway has recently appeared in India 
from the pen of Colonel W. E. Gowan. 3 To the best of 
my knowledge these are the only descriptions pub- 
lished in the English language of General Amienkoff's 
scheme ; and of their number not one, with the excep- 
tion of the 'Times ' letters, has been penned since its 
completion. In the French tongue, as I have indicated, 
there has been a more luxuriant crop of descriptive 
literature. One special correspondent has since given 
to the world a substantial volume, the quality of which 
may be fairly inferred from the fact that out of 466 
pages in the entire work, he does not land his readers 
at Uzun Ada, the starting point of the railway, till the 

1 Vide the Bibliography at the end of this volume. 

2 Fortnightly Review, February 1887. 

8 The Transcaspian Railway, its meaning and its future. Trans- 
lated and condensed from the Russian of I. Y. Vatslik. 


185th page, or start them on his journey from there 
till page 807. l Another correspondent sent a batch 
of singularly flimsy letters to the ' Temps.' A third, 
with far superior literary pretensions, the Vicomte 
Emile cle VogUc*, a French Academician and brother- 
in-law of General Annenkoff, published his own expe- 
riences in the * Journal des Debats.' But his articles, 
though characterised by an agreeable fancy and by 
all the picturesqueness of the Gallic idiom, added 
nothing to our previous stock of knowledge on the 
subject. A young French officer, the Comte de 
Cholet, who travelled over the line in 1888, and in 
the disguise of a Cossack officer, accompanied Ali- 
khanoff, the Governor of Merv, upon an interesting 
tour of inspection along the Afghan frontier, has 
lately written a book, which, though it repays perusal, 
is devoted to his personal adventures rather than to 
popular instruction. 2 
justifies A later writer may find some excuse, therefore 

tion for a. .... riir 

new work for gleaning m a field from which so scanty a harvest 
has already been garnered ; and although the ground 
which he traverses will be to some extent familiar to 
the more advanced students of Central Asian politics 
and topography, there will be many who have 
not access to the proceedings of Geographical 
Societies, or who have not explored the writings of 
specialists, to whose concern he may justifiably 

1 En Asie Centrale a la Vapeur. Par Napoleon Ney. Paris. 

3 Excursion en Turkestan et sur la Frontibre Rusao-AfgJwtne. 
Par Lieut, le Comte de Cholet. Paris. 1889. 


It is scarcely possible indeed to imagine a region varied 
of the world at all accessible that opens out so wide central 

r Asia 

and manifold a horizon of interest. The traveller 
who has made a periplus of the universe,, and, like 


Much has seen and known; cities of men 
And manners, climates, councils, governments, 

may yet confess to a novel excitement as he threads 
the bazaars of remote Bokhara, or gazes on the 
coronation stone -and sepulchre of Timur at Samar- 
kand. He will not look for the first time without 
emotion on the waters of the Oxus, that famous river 
that, like the Euphrates and the Ganges, rolls its 
stately burden down from a hoar antiquity through 
the legends and annals of the East. In the Turkoman 
of the desert, and the turbaned Tartar of the Khanates, 
he will see an original and a striking type of humanity. 
Something too of marvel, if not much of beauty, must 
there be in a country which presents to the eye a 
succession of bewildering contrasts ; where, in fine 
vicissitude, grandeur alternates with sadness ; where 
the scarp of precipitous mountains frowns over an 
unending plain ; where spots of verdure lie strewn like 
islets amid shoreless seas of sand ; where mighty 
rivers perish in marsh and swamp ; where populous 
cities are succeeded as a site of residence by tents of 
felt, and sedentary toil as a mode of life by the 
vagrant freedom of the desert. The lover of ancient 
history may wander in the footsteps of Alexander or 
retrace the scorching track of Jenghiz Khan ; may 


compare his Herodotus with his Marco Polo, and 
both with facts ; may search for some surviving relic 
of a lost European civilisation, of the Bactrian or 
Sogdian kingdoms, or for the equally vanished mag- 
nificence of the Great Mogul. The student of modern 
history will welcome the opportunity of renewing his 
acquaintance on the spot with the successive steps of 
Russian advance from the first colony on the Caspian 
to the latest ^acquisitions on the Murghab and the 
Ileri-Bud; and will eagerly pause at Merv, the 
dethroned 'Queen of the World/ or inspect the 
mouldering ramparts of Geok Tepe, where the Akhal 
Tekkes made their last heroic stand against Skobfeleff 
and the legions of the Great White Czar. Before his 
eyes the sands of an expiring epoch are fast running 
out ; and the hour-glass of destiny is once again 
being turned on its base. 

political But the political problems which the route un- 

folds, and to which it may in part supply a key, will 
be to many more absorbing still. Is this railway 
the mere obligatory threac] of connection by which 
Russia desires to hold together, and to place in easy 
inter-communication, her loosely scattered and hete 
rogeneous possessions in Asia ; or is it part of a great 
design that dreams of a wider dominion and aspires 
to a more splendid goal ? Is it an evidence of con- 
centration, possibly even of contraction, or is it a 
symbol of aggrandisement and an omen of advance ? 
Russian expansion in Central Asia has, it is often 
said, proceeded in recent years in such inverse pro- 
portion, both to the measure of her own assurances 


and to the pressure of natural causes, that we are 
tempted to ask quousque tdndem^ and may perhaps 
find in General AnnenkofTs achievement the clue to 
a reply. 

Upon no question is there greater conflict of Russian 
opinion in England than Russia's alleged designs upon India 
upon India. Are we to believe, as General Grodekoff 
(the hero of the celebrated ride from Samarkand to 
Herat in 1878) told Mr. Marvin at St. Petersburg in 
1882, that * no practical Eussian general believes 
in the possibility of an invasion of India/ and that 
c the millennium will take place before Russia invades 
India ? ' Or are we to hold with General TchernaiefF, 
a once even superior authority, that c the Russian 
invasion of India is perfectly possible, though not 
easy?' Or, rejecting the mean and the extreme 
opinion on the one side, shall we fly to the other, 
and confess ourselves of those who trace from the 
apocryphal will of Peter down to the present time 
a steadfast and sinister purpose informing Russian 
policy, demonstrated by evjery successive act of ad- 
vance, lit up by a holocaust of broken promises, and 
if for a moment it appears to halt in its realisation, 
merely reculant pour mieux sauter, the prize of its 
ambition being not on the Oxus or even at the Hindu 
Kush, but at the delta of the Ganges and the Indian 
Ocean ? Or, if territorial aggrandisement appear too 
mean a motive, shall we find an adequate explanation 
in commercial cupidity, and detect in Muscovite 
statesmanship a pardonable desire to usurp the hege- 
mony of Great Britain in the markets of the East ? 


Or again, joining a perhaps wider school of opinion, 
shall we admit the act, but minimise the offensive 
character of the motive, believing that Eussia in- 
tentionally keeps open the Indian question, not with 
any idea of supplanting Great Britain in the judg- 
ment-seat or at the receipt of custom, but in order 
that she may have her rival at a permanent dis- 
advantage, and may paralyse the trunk in Europe 
by galling the limb in Asia? Or, lastly, shall we 
affect the sentimental style, and expatiate on the 
great mission of Kussia, and the centripetal philan- 
thropic force that draws her like a loadstone into 
the heart of the Asian continent? All these are 
views which it is possible to hold, or which are held, 
by large sections of Englishmen, and upon which a 
visit to the scene of action may shed some light. 
Such a visit, too, should enable the traveller to form 
some impression of the means employed by Russia 
to reconcile to her rule those with whom she was so 
lately in violent conflict, and to compare her genius 
for assimilation with that, of other conquering races. 
Is the apparent security of her sway the artificial 
product of a tight military grip, or is it the natural 
outcome of a peaceful organic fusion ? How do her 
methods and their results compare with those of 
England in India ? Very important and far-reaching 
such questions are; for upon the answer to them 
which the genius of two nations is engaged in tracing 
upon the scroll of history, will depend the destinies 
of the East. 

There remain two other questions, upon each of 


which I hope to furnish some practical information. The 
The first is a comparison of the relative strength for Question 
offensive and defensive purposes of the Russian and 
British frontiers, now brought so close together, and 
the initial advantages enjoyed by either in the event 
of the outbreak of war. The second is the feasi- 
bility, and, if that be admitted, the likelihood or the 
wisdom of any future junction of the two railway 
systems whose most advanced lines at Dushak and at 
Chaman, are separated by a gap of only 600 miles. 
General Annenkoff, we know, has all along advocated 
such an amalgamation ; and although past history, 
the prejudices of the two countries, the intervention 
of Afghanistan, and a whole host of minor .contin- 
gencies are arrayed against him, the plan must not, 
therefore, be condemned offhand as chimerical, but 
is at least worthy of examination. 

In concluding this chapter, let me add that I 
shall endeavour to approach the discussion of political 
issues in as impartial a spirit as I can command. I 
do not class myself either with the Eussophiles or 
the Russophobes. I am as far from echoing the 
hysterical shriek of the panic-monger or the Jingo as 
I am from imitating the smug complacency of the 
politician who chatters about Mervousness only to 
find that Merv is gone, and thinks that imperial ob- 
ligation is to be discharged by a querulous diplo- 
matic protest, or evaded by a literary epigram. 
Whatever be Russia's designs upon India, whether 
they be serious and inimical or imaginary and fan- 
tastic, I hold that the first duty of English statesmen 


is to render any hostile intentions futile, to see that 
our own position is secure, and our frontier impreg- 
nable, and so to guard what is without doubt the 
noblest trophy of British genius, and the most splendid 
appanage of the Imperial Crown. 




* Eastward the Star of Empire takes its way.' 

Journey to St. PetersburgDifficulty of obtaining permission Obser- 
vations on Bussian character Hostility to Germany and the Ger- 
mans Policy of Alexander III. Bussian feeling towards England 
Bussian feeling towards Austria and France Continuation of 
journey Permission granted From St. Petersburg to Tiflis 
From Tiflis to Baku and the Caspian Approach to Uzun Ada. 

IN the summer and autumn months an express train Journey to 
leaves Berlin at 8.30 in the morning, and reaches burg 6 
St. Petersburg on the evening of the following day. 
A traveller from England can either catch this train 
by taking the day boat from Queenborough to 
Flushing, and making the through journey without a 
halt, in which case he will reach the Eussian capital 
in sixty-one hours ; or by taking the night boat to 
Flushing, and reaching Berlin the following evening, 
he can allow himself the luxury of a night between 
the sheets before proceeding on his way. At 8.30 
P.M. on the day after leaving Berlin he is deposited 
on the platform of the Warsaw station at St. Peters- 
burg. The journey vid St. Petersburg . and Moscow 
is not, of course, the shortest or most expeditious 
route to the Caucasus and the Caspian. The 


quickest route, in point of time, is vid Berlin to 
Cracow, and from there by Elisavetgrad to Kharkov 
on the main Eussian line of railway running south 
from Moscow, whence the journey is continued to 
Vladikavkas and the Caucasus. A less fatiguing 
but rather longer deviation is the journey by rail 
from Cracow to Odessa, and thence by sea to 
Batoum, and train to Tiflis and Baku. A third 
alternative is the new overland route to Constanti- 
nople, and thence by steamer to Batoum. I travelled, 
however, vid St. Petersburg and Moscow, partly 
because I wished to see those places, but mainly 
because I hoped at the former to obtain certain in- 
formation and introductions which might be useful 
to me in Georgia and Transcaspia. Moreover, the 
stranger to Eussia cannot do better than acquire his 
first impression of her power and importance at the 
seat of government, the majestic emanation of Peter's 
genius on the banks of the Neva. 
Difficulty When I left London I was assured by the repre- 
sentatives of the Wagon- Li ts Company that all neces- 


sary arrangements had been made, that a special 
permit, une automation spedale, to visit Transcaspia 
had been obtained, and that the .rest of the party 
had already started from Paris. Not caring to share 
in the earlier movements of the excursion, which in- 
volved a delay in Europe, I proposed to join them at 
Vladikavkas. As soon, however, as I reached St. 
Petersburg I had reason to congratulate myself upon 
having gone to headquarters at once, for I found 
that matters had not been quite so smoothly 


arranged, and that there were formidable obstacles 
still to be overcome. The Russian Government is 
a very elaborate and strictly systematised, but also 
a very complicated, piece of machinery ; and the 
motive power required to set its various parts in 
action is often out of all proportion to the result 
achieved. It would not seem to be a very serious 
or difficult matter to determine whether a small 
party less than a dozen of tourists should be 
allowed to travel over a line, the opening of which 
to passenger traffic had been trumpeted throughout 
Europe, and an invitation to travel by which had 
originated from the director-general of the line him- 
self. However, things are not done quite so simply 
at St. Petersburg. It transpired that for the permis- 
sion in question the consent of five independent 
authorities must be sought: (1) The Governor- 
General of Turkestan, General Eosenbach, whose 
headquarters are at Tashkent ; (2) the Governor- 
General of Transcaspia, General Komaroff, who resides 
at Askabad ; (3) the head of the Asiatic department 
of the Foreign Office at St. Petersburg, M. Zinovieff; 
(4) the Minister of Foreign Affairs, M. de Giers, or 
his colleague, General Vlangali ; (5) the Minister for 
War, General Vanoffski ; the last named being the 
supreme and ultimate court of appeal. All these 
independent officials had to be consulted, and their 
concurrent approval obtained. 

My first discovery was that not one of this number 
had yet signified his assent, and very grave doubts 
were expressed by General Vlangali, in answer to 



inquiries, as to the likelihood of their doing so. I 
even heard that the Italian Embassy had applied for 
leave for an officer in the Italian army, and had been 
point blank refused. The only Englishmen in 
addition to two or three Indian officers, who, joining 
the railway at TcharjuLor Merv on their return from 
India, had travelled by it to the Caspian to whom 
official permission had so far .been granted were the 
* Times ' correspondent ; Dr. Lansdell, who had 
recently started upon another roving expedition of 
mingled Bible distribution and discovery in Central 
Asia ; and Mr. Littledale, a sportsman, who had with 
great difficulty obtained leave to go as far as Samar- 
kand with a view of proceeding from there in quest 
of the ovis poll in the remote mountains of the Pamir. 
In this pursuit I record with pleasure the fact that 
the last-named gentleman was entirely successful, 
being the first Englishman who has ever shot a male 
specimen of this famous and inaccessible animal. 
Matters were further complicated by the absence of 
the Minister for War, who was accompanying the 
Czar in his imperial progress through the south. One 
of my earliest steps was to seek an interview with the 
representative at St. Petersburg of the Compagnie 
des Wagon-Lits, and to inquire what steps he had 
taken or proposed to take. I found that he had as 
yet obtained no assurance of 'official ratification, but 
was relying upon the patronage and promises of 
General Annenkoff, who was absent and believed to 
be in Nice. I was, however, recommended by him 
to call upon M. Mestcherin, the resident engineer to 


the railway, who had greatly interested himself in the 
expedition and was doing his utmost to further its 
success. The first item of reassuring news that I had 
received fell from his lips. A telegram had been 
received from General Eosenbach, to whom the 
names of the proposed party had been submitted, 
signifying his approval ; and another of a similar 
character was hourly expected from General Komaroff. 
This intelligence was the more satisfactory, because I 
heard from M. Mestcherin that it was upon General 
Eosenbach's supposed objections that the authorities 
at St. Petersburg had principally based theirs ; the 
General's hostility being attributed to his unwilling- 
ness to have a party of foreigners anywhere near the 
frontier, pending the unsettled rebellion of Is-hak 
Khan against the Afghan Amir in a quarter of Afghan 
Turkestan at so short a distance from the Eussian 
lines. I confess I regarded this as a plausible objec- 
tion, though I hardly thought that the situation would 
be much aggravated by the casual and almost 
meteoric transit of a harmless party of polyglot tour- 
ists over the railway line. However, these scruples, 
if entertained, had now been abandoned, and the 
hope presented itself that the confidence displayed 
by General Eosenbach might awake a similar gene- 
rosity in the breasts of his official superiors in the 
capital. M. Mestcherin had no doubt whatever that 
this would be the case. Of certain information which 
he gave me on the subject of the railway I shall 
speak in a subsequent chapter. I left his apartments 
in a more sanguine frame of mind than I had yet 



ventured to indulge. Nevertheless, the fact that 
there had lately been an accident on the line, owing 
apparently to its imperfect construction, in which 
more persons than one were said to have been killed, 
and the rumoured total breakdown of the bridge over 
the Oxus at Tcharjui, were discouraging omens, and 
suggested a possible explanation for the reluctance of 
the Bussian official world to admit the inquisitive 
eyes of strangers. These were arguments, however, 
which could have no weight with General Annenkoff, 
who was credited with an absolute confidence in the 
capacities of his staff, and whose cosmopolitan 
sympathies I had no reason to question. 

Passing through St. Petersburg, and being brought 
RuBeian into communication with residents there, as well as 

character . 

with Eussians in other parts of my journey, there 
. were certain impressions upon the more superficial 
aspects of Russian politics which I could not fail to 
derive. Among these the strongest was perhaps the 
least expected and the most agreeable. 

If it is an exaggeration to say that every English- 
man enters Bussia a Bussophobe, and leaves it a Bus- 
sophile, at least it is true that even a short residence 
in that country tempers the earlier estimate which he 
may have been led to form of the character of the 
population and its rulers. This is mainly attributable 
to the frank and amiable manners and to the extreme 
civility of the people, from the highest official to the 
humblest moujik. The Russian gentleman has all 
the polish of the Frenchman, without the vague sugges- 
tion of Gallic veneer ; the Bussian lower class may 


be stupid, but they are not, like the Teuton, brusque. 
The stranger's path is smoothed for him by everyone 
to whom he appeals for help, and though manners do 
not preclude national enmities, at least they go a long 
way towards conciliating personal friendships. 

A second reason for the altered opinion of the Hostility 

to Ger- 

Englishman is his early discovery that there is no many and 
widespread hostility to England in Russia ; and that man8 
he -and his countrymen are by no means regarded as 
a German, for instance, or more latterly an Italian 
is regarded in France, or as an Austrian used to be 
regarded in Italy. Nothing can be more clear than 
that the main and dominating feeling of the Eussian 
mind in relation to foreigners is an abiding and 
overpowering dislike of German}''. This is a chord 
upon which any Eussian statesman, much more any 
Slavophile, can play with absolute certainty of re- 
sponse, and which rings even to the touch of a pass- 
ing or accidental hand. Dislike of German manners, 
distrust of German policy, detestation of German 
individuality, these were sentiments which I heard 
expressed on all sides without a pretence of conceal- 
ment, and which I believe have grown into an 
intuitive instinct with this generation of the Eussian 
people. I could give several instances of this ani- 
mosity, but will content myself with two or three 
which came under my own notice. A Eussian officer 
explained to me an alleged case of brutal treatment 
of a child by its parents by the remark * Que voulez- 
vous? C*est un Allemandl' From another Eussian 
official, whose opinion I elicited in conversation, I 


received the emphatic declaration c Ce sont des bar- 
bares' A Russian gentleman and large landed pro- 
prietor volunteered the information, in which he saw 
nothing remarkable, that he so abhorred Germany that 
if passing through that country nothing would induce 
him even to spend a night at Berlin. A feeling so 
deep as this and so widespread cannot be without 
serious and solid foundation any more that it can be 
ignored in casting the horoscope of Russia's future. 
To trace the sources of this anti-Teuton feeling would 
lead me too far from my subject, and would require 
a digression that might easily swell into a treatise. 
But it is not difficult to discover on the surface of 
Russian life, both public and private, a score of points 
at which German contact or competition means 
friction, and may readily generate hatred. For not 
only is this sentiment a political sentiment, arising 
from the near propinquity and overwhelming prepon- 
derance of German power in Europe, from the usur- 
pation in Continental politics by a new-fledged empire 
of the military ascendency claimed by Russia at the 
beginning of this century, and from the belief that 
Russia has been thwarted at every point of the inter- 
national compass, and has suffered, instead of gaining, 
by the Berlin Treaty alike in Servia, Bulgaria, and 
Roumania, owing to the dark machinations of Bis- 
marck alone ; not only, I repeat, is this a popular 
impression, but the individual German is brought 
into constant and disagreeable collision with the 
Russian in the relations of ordinary life. An aristo- 
cracy and landed proprietary largely German, a 


bureaucracy and official clique stocked with German 
names, a reigning dynasty that is of German extrac- 
tion ; German monopoly of business, trade, and bank- 
ing on the largest scale, and formidable German 
competition in the more humble spheres of industry ; 
the preference given by men of business and owners 
of estates to German managers, stewards, or agents, 
whose thrifty and trustworthy capacities render them 
an infinitely preferable choice to the corrupt and 
careless Russian ; above all, the overwhelming anti- 
thesis between German and Russian character, the 
one vigilant, uncompromising, stiff, precise ; the other 
sleepy, nonchalant, wasteful, and lax ; all these facts 
have branded their mark on Russian opinion with 
the indelible potency of some corrosive acid, and have 
engendered a state of feeling which a prudent fear 
may temporarily disguise but will not permanently 
mitigate, and which the mutual amenities of emperors 
may gloss over but cannot pretend to annul. 

In the present reign this anti-German feeling has Policy of 

i i T XT n r* Alexander 

reached a climax. .Naturally a man of conservative in. 
instincts, and driven partly by circumstances, partly 
by irresponsibility, into illiberal and reactionary ex- 
tremes, Alexander III. has for some time devoted 
himself to stamping out of Russia all non-Russian 
elements, and setting up an image, before which all 
must fall down and worship, of a Russia, single, 
homogeneous, exclusive, self-sufficing, self-contained. 
Foreign names, foreign tongues, a foreign faith, 
particularly if the one are Teuton, and the other is 
Lutheran, are vexed, or prohibited, or assailed. 


Foreign competition in any quarter, commercial or 
otherwise, is crushed by heavy deadweights hung 
round its neck. Foreign concessions are as flatly 
refused as they were once eagerly conceded. The 
Government even declines to allow any but Eussian 
money to be invested in Eussian undertakings. 
Foreign managers and foreign workmen are under a 
bureaucratic ban. German details are expunged from 
the national uniform; the German language is for- 
bidden in the schools of the Baltic provinces ; German 
fashions are proscribed at court. ' The stranger that 
is within thy gates ' is the bug-bear and bete noire of 
Muscovite statesmanship. There is no cosmopoli- 
tanism in the governing system of the Czar. What 
Eussians call patriotism, what foreigners call rank 
selfishness, is the keynote of his regime. 6 Eussia for 
the Eussians/ has been adopted as the motto, not of 
a radical faction, but of an irresponsible autocracy, 
and is preached, not by wild demagogues, but by an 
all-powerful despot. 

While this attitude is universally exemplified in 
the relations between Eussia and Germany, and is 
also typical of the commercial and imperial policy 
which she adopts towards this country, it is not in 
the latter case accompanied or followed by any 
personal or national antipathy. 

Of political hostility to Great Britain there may 
be a certain amount, particularly in the governing 
hierarchy and in the army, arising from the obvious 
fact that the interests of the two nations have long 
been diametrically opposed in the settlement of 


Russia's chief end of action, the Balkan Peninsula, 
and from the strained relations between the two 
countries springing out of the events that so nearly 
culminated in war in 1885. This feeling, however, 
is accompanied by a candid respect for the confidence, 
and what Carlyle somewhere called 6 the silent fury 
and aristocratic impassivity ' of the English character, 
while in its most aggravated form it is wholly divorced , 
from any dislike to the individual or repulsion to the 
race. Skobeleff, though he used to say 'I hate 
England/ and undeniably looked upon it as the 
ambition of his life to fight us in Central Asia an 
action by the way in which he had not the slightest 
doubt of success was on friendly terms with many* 
Englishmen, and had been heard to say that he never 
met an Englishman who was not a gentleman. In 
externals, indeed, there is much in common between 
the Eussian and the Briton, exhibiting, as both do, 
along with the temperament, the physique, the com- 
plexion and colour of the north, a unity of qualities 
that make for greatness, viz. self-reliance, pride, a 
desperate resolve, adventurousness, and a genius for 
discipline. Further than this I would not push the 
resemblance. A Eussian will tell you that to judge 
the two people by the same moral standard is as un- 
fair as to submit to the same physical test a child and 
a grown man. Russia is understood to be working 
out her own salvation. If she repudiates the accepted 
canons of regeneration, she may perhaps claim, in 
self-defence, to civilise herself in her own way. 

The prevailing friendliness in Russia towards 


Russian Englishmen is a factor riot unworthy of note in framing 
towards any induction as to the future ; the more so as the same 

Austria J ' 

and France cannot be said of her attitude towards other people 
with whom she is supposed to be on more intimate 
terms than with ourselves. Austria she regards with 
undisguised hostility, not free from contempt. A 
political system so heterogeneous she credits with no 
stability. The military power of her southern rival 
she derides as a masquerade. To use a phrase I 
heard employed by a Bussian, ' Austria stings like a 
gnat and bites like an adder ; ' and ought, in the 
opinion of many ardent Muscovites, tobe crushed like 
the one, or stamped under heel like the other. Her 
alleged sympathy with France is a tie of a more 
artificial character than is often supposed, and is the 
outcome not of national affinities, but of political 
needs. It is the necessary corollary in fact to her 
detestation of Germany. French politics are followed 
with absolute indifference in St. Petersburg, except in 
so far as they relate to Berlin ; and there is probably 
no country in Europe where there is a heartier pre- 
judice against music-hall statesmanship and a see-saw 
constitution, or a more masculine contempt for the 
refinements of an epicene civilisation. It is noteworthy 
that in the journalistic and literary amenities, which 
writers of the two nationalities interchange, while 
the Frenchman plunges at once into headlong adula- 
tion, a discreet flattery is the utmost as a rule that 
the Eussian will concede. 

The doubts which had arisen as to the prospects 
of my journey were still unsolved when I left St. 


Petersburg ; while at Moscow they were yet further 
aggravated by the information which I received from journey ; 

. . * permission 

headquarters. I was advised on the highest authority granted 
not to persevere in the attempt, and was warned that 
in any case an answer could not be expected for a 
considerable time. Subsequently to this I even heard 
that our names had been submitted to the War 
Minister, who had declined to sanction them, which 
refusal was further declared to be irrevocable. In 
spite of this ominous dissuasion, which I had some 
ground for believing to be due to a jealousy between 
the departments of the Foreign Office and War Office 
at St. Petersburg, I decided to start from Moscow, 
and did so after waiting there for six days. It was 
not till I reached Vladikavkas, on the Caucasus, three 
days later, that a telegraphic despatch conveyed to 
me the unexpected and welcome tidings that permis- 
sion had after all been conceded, and that the entire 
party, the rest of whom were now assembled in a 
state of expectancy at Tiflis, might proceed across the 
Caspian. All is well that ends well ; and I am not 
any longer concerned to explore the tortuous wind- 
ings of diplomatic policy or official intrigue at St. 
Petersburg. General Annenkoff had assured us 
that we should be allowed to go, and leave having 
been given, with him undoubtedly remained the 
honours of war. Later on we heard that the Minister 
for War, upon seeing the permission of Generals 
Eosenbach and Kbmaroff, had at once given his 
consent without even informing the Foreign Office. 
Conceive the feelings of the latter ! 


From st. Were I writing a narrative of travel, I might 

Petersburg .. , , , . , 

to Tims invite my readers to halt with me for a few moments 
at St. Petersburg, at Moscow, at Nijni-Novgorod, in 
the Caucasus, at Tiflis, or at Baku. I stayed in each 
of these places, exchanging the grandiose splendour 
and civilised smartness of the capital with its archi- 
tecture borrowed from Italy, its amusements from 
Paris, and its pretentiousness from Berlin for the 
Oriental irregularity and bizarre beauty of Moscow, 
an Eastern exotic transplanted to the West, an inland 
Constantinople, a Christian Cairo. No more effective 
illustration could be furnished of the Janus-like cha- 
racter of this huge political structure, with its vast 
unfilled courts and corridors in the east, and, as Peter 
the Great phrased it, its northern window looking 
out upon Europe, than the outward appearance of its 
two principal cities, the one a Western plagiarism, the 
other an Asiatic original. Through the Caucasus we 
drove, four horses abreast attached to a kind of family 
barouche, by the famous Dariel Eoad. Piercing one 
of the finest gorges in Europe, it climbs a height of 
8,000 ft., and skirts the base of a height of 16,000 ft. 
This is the celebrated pass that drew a line to the 
conquests alike of Alexander and Justinian, the 
Caucasian Gates of the ancient world, which shut off 
the East on this side from the West, and were never 
owned at entrance and exit by the same Power till 
they fell into Russia's hands. Above them tower the 
mighty rocks of Kazbek on which the tortured Pro-* 
metheus hung, and away to the right is Elbruz, the 
doyen of European summits. This road is for the 


present at any rate, and will probably long remain, of 
the highest military importance, as it is the first line 
of communication both with Armenia and the Caspian ; 
and its secure tenure dispenses with the delays of 
transport and navigation by the Black Sea. Though 
skilfully engineered, substantially metalled, and con- 
stantly repaired (relays of soldiers being employed 
in the winter to cut a passage through the snows), it 
cannot be compared for evenness or solidity with the 
roads which the British have made in similar sur- 
roundings in many parts of the world. It debouches 
135 miles from Vladikavkas upon Tiflis, where the 
traveller begins to realise that though still in the 
same country he has changed continents. There I 
found the rest of the party assembled, consisting of 
two Englishmen, three Frenchmen, an Italian, and 
a Dutchman. With an Englishman, a Pole, and a 
Mingrelian, to whom was subsequently added a Tajik 
of Bokhara, as our guides and conductors, we con- 
stituted about as representative a body as General 
Annenkoff in his most cosmopolitan of moments could 
have desired. 

At Tiflis we received from General SherenuStieff, rom - 

9 lis to Baku 

acting governor in the absence of Prince Dondoukoff gjj| ** 
Korsakoff, who had gone to meet the Emperor, the 
official document, or oktriti list, authorising us to 
cross the Caspian and to travel in the Eussian 
dominions in Central Asia. The ordinary passport, 
though viseed and counter- viseed, is useless east of 
the Caspian, and many a traveller, straining its 
limited sanctity, has been turned back from the 


regions to which the oktriti list alone will procure 
admission. With this magical piece of paper in our 
possession we started without any further delay by 
the single daily train, that leaving Tiflis at ten in the 
evening arrives at Baku betwe'en four and live on the 
following afternoon. There we spent a day inspect- 
ing the peculiar features of the place and visiting the 
works of Balakhani, some eight miles from the town, 
where a forest of tall wooden towers like chimney- 
stacks marks the site of the deep wells from which 
the crude naphtha either springs in spontaneous jets 
from hidden subterranean sources, or is drawn up by 
steam power in long cylindrical tubes, and despatched 
to the distilleries in the town. Of this petroleum 
industry, which has reached the most gigantic pro- 
portions, I will say nothing here ; because I should 
only be repeating secondhand M hat is already to be 
found in works specially devoted 'to the subject. 1 
I have the further incentive to silence that of 
previous visitors who have described their journey 
to Transcaspia scarcely one has resisted the temp- 
tation to speech. At 5.30 in the afternoon we put 
off from the wharf in the steamboat ' Prince Baria- 
tinski/ belonging to the Caucasus and Mercury 
Company, which was frequently impressed by Skobe- 
leff and his troops in the Turkoman campaigns of 
1879, 1880, and 1881. As we steamed out on the 
placid waters of the Caspian, whose surface far out 
to sea gleamed dully under the metallic lustre of the 

1 Vide a new edition of The Region of Eternal Fire. By Charles 
Marvin. London, 1888. 



floating oil, the setting sun lit up an altar of fire 
behind the pink cliffs of the Apsheron peninsula, 
which would have turned to ridicule the most 
prodigal devotion, even in their palmiest days, of the 
defunct fire-worshippers of Baku. On the other side 
a leaden canopy of smoke overhung the petroleum 
works, and the dingy quarters of the manufacturing 

Approach At sunrise on the next morning rocky land was 
Ada 11 visible to .the north-east. This was the mountainous 
background to Krasnovodsk, the first Eussian settle- 
ment twenty years ago on the eastern shore of the 
Caspian, and the original capital of the province of 
Transcaspia. Thither the terminus of the railway is 
likely to be transferred from Ilzun Ada, on account 
of the shallow and shifting anchorage at the latter 
place. Later on low sandhills, clean, yellow, and 
ubiquitous, fringed the shore or were distributed in 
melancholy islets over the surface of the bay. The 
whole appearance of the coast is strikingly reminis- 
cent of a river delta, a theory which is in close 
harmony with the admitted geological fact that the 
Oxus once emptied itself by one at least of its mouths 
or tributaries into the Balkan Bay. Soon we entered 
a narrow channel, at the extremity of which the 
masts of ships, the smoking funnels of steamers, and 
several projecting wooden piers and wharves indicated 
a position of considerable commercial activity ; and at 
2.30 P.M. were moored to the landing stage of Uzun 
Ada, on which appeared to be gathered the entire 
population of the settlement, whose sole distraction 


the arrival and departure of the steamer must be. 
This is the present starting point of the Transcaspian 
Bailway; and here accordingly I pause to give a 
historical retrospect of the origin, raison d'etre, con- 
struction and character of this important undertaking. 
Let any reader who revolts against dull detail omit 
the next chapter. 




I'll put a girdle round about the earfch 
In forty minutes. 

SHAKSPBABE, Midsummer Night's Dream, Act ii. sc. i. 

Origin of the idea of a Central Asian railway Scheme of M. Ferdinand 
de Lesseps Attitude of England Idea of a Transcaspian railway 
Adoption of the plan by Skobeleff Completion to Kizil Arvat 
in December 1881 Ideas of further extension Opposition to tho 
Transcaspian scheme Extension from Kizil Arvat to the Oxus 
From the Oxus to Samarkand Technical information about 
the line Exclusively military character Material of the line 
Character and pay of the workmen Method of construction Cost 
Facilities of construction Difficulties of water Difficulties of 
sand Contrivances to resist the sands Difficulty of fuel and 
lighting Kolling stock of the railway Stations Duration and 
cost of journey. 

Origin of VERY early after the Kussian occupation of Turkestan 

ofVcen- in 1865 I must ask my readers to bear very closely 

Raiiway an in mind the distinction between Turkestan, or Central 

Asia proper, the capital of which is Tashkent, and 

Turkomania, or the country of the Turkomans, 

which extends from the Caspian to Merv and its 

conversion into a Russian possession, administered 

by a Governor-General, in 1867, the question of more 

rapid communication with Europe was raised. For 

a time the idea was entertained that the streams of 


the Syr Daria or Jaxartes, and, after the conquest 
of Khiva and practical absorption of Bokhara in 
1873, of the Amu Daria or Oxus, would provide the 
requisite channels of connection; and a great deal 
was heard of the future Aral flotilla. But the dif- 
ficulties arising from the river navigation, which 
have not to this day been successfully surmounted, 
speedily threw these schemes into the background, 
and the plan of a Central Asian Railway began to 
take definite shape. In 1873 a Russian official was 
entrusted with the duty of preparing a report on the 
feasibility of constructing a line from Orenburg to 
Tashkent; and early in the same year, M. Cotard, 
who had been one of the engineers employed upon 
the Suez Canal, meeting M. Ferdinand de Lesseps, 
whose hands were for the moment empty, at Con- 
stantinople, suggested to him this fresh field of 

M. de Lesseps was nothing loth. He at once put Scheme of 

r e r M. Ferdi- 

pen to paper, and in a letter dated May 1, 1873, to 
General Ignatieff, then Russian Ambassador at Con- 
stantinople (followed later on by one to the Emperor 
Alexander II.), he unfolded the details of his scheme, 
which was no less than the recommendation of a 
through railway from Calais to Calcutta, a distance 
of 7,500 miles the portion from Orenburg to 
Samarkand to be laid by Russia, and from Samarkand 
to Peshawur by England. General Ignatieff replied 
with ready enthusiasm, welcoming the idea because 
of its commercial and political importance, and not 
least because it would show to the world 6 the 



essentially pacific and civilising character of Kussian 
influence in those regions.' He further declared his 
* intimate conviction that this grandiose enterprise, 
though it might appear at first sight both risky and 
chimerical, was yet destined to be realised in a future 
more or less near/ The indefatigable M. de Lesseps 
then went to Paris, where a small society was formed 
to undertake the preliminary topographical surveys. 
These were to be submitted to a committee of experts, 
who were to report upon the technical feasibility of 
the enterprise, and on its future commercial and 
fiscal advantages. Definite local surveys were next 
to be made, backed by a financial company ; and, 
finally, the work of construction was to commence, 
and to last for six years. 

Attitude of Meanwhile, however, the consent of another high 
contracting party was required; and M. de Lesseps 
had in the interim opened communications with 
Lord Gran vi lie. In England the project was not 
received with much alacrity; and when certain of 
the French engineers, who had been despatched to 
India to reconnoitre the ground, arrived upon the 
Afghan frontier, permission was refused to them to 
advance beyond, on account of the difficulties in 
which England might thereby be involved with those 
turbulent regions. After their return to Europe, the 
project languished ; and before long M. de Lesseps, 
scenting a more favourable spoil in another hemi- 
sphere, withdrew his attention and his patronage to 
the Panama Canal. Since then the idea, in its 
original shape, has not again been heard of. 


For some time afterwards the design of a Central Mea of a 


Asian Railway slumbered. But the commencement Caspian 

J Railway 

of the series of Russian campaigns against the Turko- 
mans in 1877, and the gradual shifting of the centre 
of political gravity in Central Asia from Turkestan 
to Transcaspia brought about its revival in another 
shape, and has since ended in its realisation, not, 
however, by a line over the steppes from the North, 
but by one from the Caspian and the West. It was 
in 1879, while General Lomakin was prosecuting his 
series of ill-adventured expeditions against the Akhal 
Tekkes that mention was first made of a Trans- 
caspian Railway (his successor, General Tergukasoflf 
laying stress upon the idea in a report upon the un- 
successful campaign of that year, and upon the proper 
means by which to subjugate the Akhal Oasis) ; and 
in 1880, after Skobeleff had been appointed Com- 
mander-in-Chief, in order to retrieve the Russian 
laurels, that the work was actually taken in hand. 

At that time it was supposed that the subjugation Adoption 

of the plan 

of the Turkoman steppes would entail a mucli more by skoW 

ri left 

arduous task than subsequently proved to be the 
case, the disastrous defeat of Lomakin at the Tekke 
fort of Denghil Tepe, more commonly known as 
Geok Tepe, in September 1879, having profoundly 
discouraged the Russians. Skobeleff was accord- 
ingly given carte blanche in his selection both of the 
manner and means of operation. He was commis- 
sioned to conquer and to annex ; but was allowed 
to do both after his own fashion. Now the main 
difficulty in the preceding campaign had arisen 


from the scarcity and loss of transport animals. 
During the expedition of 1879, 8,377 camels had 
perished out of a total of 12,273 employed; and at 
the end of SkobelefTs own campaign, a year and a 
half later, only 350 remained out of a total of l^GOG. 1 
To meet this initial drawback, it was suggested to 
Skobeleff that he should employ a light railroad. 
While his base still remained at Tchikishliar, near the 
mouth of the Atrek Eiver, on the Caspian, a service 
of traction engines was projected by General Petruse- 
vitch, and subsequently a tramway to the edge of the 
Akhal Oasis. But Skobeleff having almost imme- 
diately resolved to shift his main base northwards to 
Krasnovodsk, opposite Baku, a new set of proposals 
saw the light. A genuine railroad was now spoken 
of. A proposal made by an American contractor 
named Berry, who offered to construct a line from 
the Caspian to Kizil Arvat, a distance of 145 miles, 
at his own expense, with material brought from some 
disused railroad in the States, and upon completion, 
either to hand it over to the Government, or to con- 
tinue its working with an annual state guarantee of 
132,000/., was refused ; arid General Annenkoff, 
formerly military attache at Paris, and at that time 
Comptroller of the Transport Department of the 
Eussian Army, who had been entrusted in 1877 with 
the transport arrangements in the Turkish war, and 
had had considerable experience of military railways 
since, was invited by the Commander-in-Chief to his 

1 Vide The War in Turltomania. By General N. I. Grodekoff. 
Chaps, ii. and xi. 


aid. He recommended the use of 100 miles of steel 
rails that had been purchased for use in the Balkan 
peninsula in 1878, in the event of the collapse of the 
Congress at Berlin, and had been lying idly stored 
ever since in European Kussia. These were at once 

( J K N K K A L A \ N ] : X K O FF. 

transhipped to Michaelovsk, a point on the coast 
considerably to the south of Krasnovodsk which was 
selected by Annenkoffas the starting point of the line ; 
but even so, no decision was yet arrived at as to a 
permanent broad-gauge line, orders having been given 


to the Decauville and Maltseff firms for the supply, of 
small locomotives and wagons, and of 66 miles of 
light movable narrow-gauge rails. 1 It was thought 
that these might be used for the immediate convey- 
ance of stores to the front, and that the success or 
failure of the smaller experiment would then deter- 
mine the policy of extending the broad-gauge line, 
which from motives of economy it was decided to lay 
at once through the belt of sandhills contiguous to 
the shore. For the purpose of the campaign 
Skobeleff from the beginning regarded the line as a 
purely secondary and accessory means of transport, 2 
though his eyes were speedily opened to its future 
possibilities and importance. So confident, however, 
was he of swift success, that, having completed his 
own preparations, he announced his intention of 
finishing the campaign before the railway, which it 
was only intended to construct as far as Kizil Arvat, 
145 miles from the Caspian, was ready to be placed 

1 Fifty miles of light steel rails, to be laid upon a 20-inch gauge, and 
100 trucks were ordered from the Kussian firm of Maltseff; 16 miles 
of rails and 500 trucks from the Ddcauville works in France. Only 
two locomotives were ordered (from the latter firm) ; as it was intended 
to work the railroad by horses, 1,000 Kirghiz animals being bought for 
the purpose in Tranecaspia. 

a At the first Military Council held at St. Petersburg, as early as 
January 1880, to discusR the forthcoming campaign, Grodekoff relates 
that Skobeleff, who had already been designated though not appointed 
Conmiander-in -Chief, * declared that a railway alone could not be trusted 
to bring the expedition to a successful issue, and accordingly he proposed 
to employ camels principally, treating the railroad as a secondary line 
of communication.' The War in Turkomania, chap. iii. Again, in 
June 1880, he wrote : * It is evident that the railway now being con- 
structed can of itself be of no importance for the narrow aims of the 
Akhal Tekke expedition ' (chap, v.) He continually repeated the same 


at his disposal a boast which, as a matter of fact, 
he triumphantly carried out. 

Meanwhile General Annenkoff, though beaten in 
the race of time, had not been idle. A railway KiziiArvat 

Dec. 1881 

battalion of 1,500 men, with special aptitudes or of 
special experience, was recruited in successive com- 
panies as required from European Russia ; skilful 
engineers were engaged ; a credit was opened by the 
Eussian Government ; and the pick and shovel 
were soon at work upon the virgin sandhills of the 
Caspian littoral. Geok Tepe was carried by storm in 
January 1881, and General Annenkoff, having been 
wounded in one of the earlier reconnaissances, was 
compelled to return to St. Petersburg. But in his 
absence the labour was not allowed to slacken ; the 
Decauville line had already been abandoned as the 
main system, and was used to assist in laying the 
broader gauge. In December 1881 the latter was 
completed, and the first locomotive steamed into Kizil 
Arvat. From these small and modest beginnings, 
undertaken with a purely strategic object, and for the 
attainment of a particular end, viz. the pacification 
of the Akhal Oasis, have grown the 900 miles of steel 
that now unite the Caspian with Samarkand. 

The success of this preliminary experiment, and ideas of 
the comparative facility and economy with which the extension 
obstacles of drought and desert had been overcome, 
encouraged General Annenkoff to meditate an expan- 
sion of his scheme. With this object in view, the 
engineer Lessar, who subsequently became well knowi^ 
in this country from his connection with the Afghan 


Boundary Commission, and the Mussulman officer 
AlikhanofT, were despatched in the years 1 8 8 1 , 1 8 8 2 and 
1883 to conduct a series of explorations in the terra 
incognita that lay towards Merv and Herat ; while at 
St. Petersburg Annenkoffhimself published a brochure 
entitled ' The Akhal Tekke Oasis and the lioads to 
India/ in which he advocated, chiefly on commercial 
grounds, an extension to Herat, and even a junction 
with the Indian Eailway system at Quetta. Russian 
officers and statesmen thought fit to pooh-pooh the sug- 
gestion in their public utterances, General Grodekoff, 
in an interview with Mr. Marvin in February 1882, 
ridiculing the idea of an extension of the line beyond 
Kizil Arvat, and even Skobeleff declaring his total dis- 
belief in its continuance beyond Askabad. It is de- 
monstrable that these protestations were merely a part 
of that policy of glib assurance, that has so often been 
employed by Russia to calm the awakened suscepti- 
bilities of England. For in Grodekoffs history of 
SkobelefTs campaign we read that the latter took the 
keenest interest in the development of the railway ; 
that from the earliest date he recommended its 
extension ; and that as far back as June 1880, a year 
and a half before his disavowal of further advance to 
Mr. Marvin, he had expressed himself in a letter as 
follows : 

When peace is restored in the Steppe, the line must be 
prolonged, either to Askabad, or, as seems to me more 
urgent, to Kunia Urgenj or to the Amu Daria. We shall 
thus have steam communication between St. Petersburg and 
Samarkand. I am certain that a cheaper or shorter way 


cannot be found of uniting Turkestan with the rest of the 
Empire, and of ensuring its safety and the development of 
its trade. If we intend to get any return from our present 
enormous expenditure, we must popularise the Steppe route 
between the Caspian and the basin of the Amu. Here, as 
elsewhere, the initiative rests with the Government. 1 

Though the Transcaspian Kailway was under Opposition 
such distinguished patronage, it was not without Tnmt 

. . . ciiHpian 

enemies, even in high military circles in Russia. Scheme 
General Tchernaieff, the original conqueror of Turke- 
stan, who was appointed Governor General of the 
Central Asian Dominions in 1882, foreseeing the 
supercession of Turkestan by Transcaspia which 
Annenkoff's railway would entail, and having always 
contended for a more northerly approach to his pro- 
vince, urged an extension from Kizil Arvat to Khiva, 
which might in turn be connected with the Caspian, 
and whence the waterway of the Oxus would provide 
an approach to Bokhara. These projects met with 
little support except from the Turkestan partisans, 
and were not rendered more palatable by the scarcity 
of commercial inducements. When the Transcaspian 
programme had finally won the day, Tchernaieff, 
piqued at his failure, exploded his irritation in a 
letter to the ' Novoe Vremya' in the summer of 1886, 
entitled c An Academic Kailway,' in which lie threw 
a parting douche of very cold water upon General 
Annenkoff's scheme, and declared his own preference 
for a line from Saratov on the Volga to Kungrad on 
the Amu Daria, between Khiva and the Aral Sea. In 

1 Grodekoff *s War in Turkomania, chap. v. 


the meantime, however, he had himself ceased to be 
a persona grata with the powers that be in Russia ; 
his name was no longer one to conjure with in the 
controversy ; and the star of Transcaspia continued 
in the ascendant. 
Extension Thougli projects of advance had undoubtedly 
been formulated as well as entertained, Kizil Arvat 

the Oxus -i i * 

remained the terminus till the famous affray on the 
Kushk between General KomarofFs troops and the 
Afghans on March 80, 1885, that so deeply stirred 
public opinion in this country, and all but embroiled 
the two nations in war. From that moment the 
character and conception of the railway changed. 
No longer the prudent auxiliary to a single cam- 
paign, it became the mark of a definite policy, 
imperial in its quality and dimensions. Till then the 
Russians themselves had regarded the line as an iso- 
lated and limited undertaking, rather than as part of 
a great design. It now emerged as a menace to 
England and a warning to Asia. On June 2, 1885, 
within two months of the Penjdeh affair, appeared 
the Czar's ukase entrusting AnnenkofT with the con- 
tinuance of the line towards the Afghan frontier. A 
second railway battalion of picked men was enrolled 
at Moscpw. Reaching Kizil Arvat on July 3, 
they began work on July 13 ; and while the British 
forces were engaged night and day upon the analo- 
gous railways of Hurnai and the Bolan in Beluchistan, 
the Russians were as steadily pushing forward their 
hostile parallels from the opposite direction. On 
December 11, 1885, the first train ran into Askabad 


(136 miles from Kizil Arvat), which had in 1882 been 
made the capital of the newly constituted province 
of Transcaspia, and the residence of a Governor- 
General. Meanwhile, in February 1884, Merv had 
been quietly annexed, and the prolongation of the 
line to that place was an inevitable corollary of what 
had already been done. On July 14, 1886, the 
whilom ' Queen of the World ' was reached, 500 
miles from the Caspian, the lines actually cutting the 
walls of the great fortress of Koushid Khan Kala, 
built with such sanguine anticipations only five years 
before as an inexpugnable barrier to Muscovite 
advance. But Merv could no more be a halting- 
place than Askabad ; and, after a pause of six weeks, 
to recruit the energies of the railway battalion, the 
same year witnessed the extension of the line to 
Tcharjui and the Oxus, a further distance of 150 
miles, General AnnenkofFs employes having now 
reached such a pitch of mechanical proficiency in 
their labours that the last 500 miles had been con- 
structed in seventeen months, or at the rate of from 
a mile to a mile and a half in a day. 

There remained only the bridging of the Amu 
Daria, a work of which more anon, and the coinple- 
tion of the line to Samarkand. The imperial ukase 
authorising the latter was issued on February 7, 
1887. This work was nominally completed in time 
for the ceremony of inauguration in May, 1888, and 
on the 27th of that month a triumphal train, decked 
with flags, and loaded with soldiers, steamed, amid 
the roar of cannon and the music of bands, into the 


ancient capital of the East. Some time previously 
the starting point of the railway had been shifted 
from Michaelovsk to what was considered the supe- 
rior landing-place of Uzun Ada, on an island 15 
miles to the north-west, where it remains for the 
present. The through communication thus estab- 
lished lias been continued and perfected since, and a 
page of the Russian Bradshaw testifies to the regu- 
larity, though at present it does not say much for the 
speed, of the Transcaspian service. The entire dis- 
tance is 1,342 versts, or not far short of 900 miles. 
Such was the origin and such has been the history 
up to the present date of this remarkable under- 

Technical Next in order I propose to give some details 
about the construction, the material, the resources, 

and the personnel of the Transcaspian Eailway . More 
minute information upon these points can be obtained 
from either of two publications which have appeared 
abroad. The first is a brochure of 160 pages, 
entitled * Transkaspien und seine Eisenbalm,' pub- 
lished at Hanover in 1888, and written by Dr. 0. 
Heyfelder, who was surgeon-in-chief to Skobeleff's 
expedition in 1880, and has since been chief of the 
medical staff to General AnnenkofFs battalions. 
This book is, as one might expect of the writer, 
whom I had the good fortune to meet in Transcaspia, 
a capable and excellent production, distinguished by 
scientific as well as local knowledge, and by broad 
sympathies. The second publication is in the shape 
of two articles which were contributed by M. Edgar 


Boulangier, a French engineer, to the 'Kevue du 
Genie Militaire,' at Paris, in March-June 1887. 
This gentleman visited the line while in course of 
construction, was treated with characteristic friendli- 
ness by the Eussian officials, and on his return wrote 
the reports to which I allude, and which are marked 
by technical accuracy arid diligent observation. It 
is to be regretted that the temptations of authorship 
subsequently persuaded him to dilute and reproduce 
his original compositions in the form of a discursive 
volume, entitled ' Voyage h Merv,' published in 1888. 
To both these writers I am indebted for many facts 
and figures, verified and sometimes corrected by per- 
sonal investigation, and supplemented by private 
inquiries on the spot. 

In the first place, it must be borne in mind that E XC I U . 
the railway has been in its execution and is in its mlfitLy 
immediate object a military railway ; and that all 
the labour which we associate at home with co- 
operative industry or private effort has here been 
undertaken by an official department, under the con- 
trol of the War Minister at St. Petersburg. To us 
who in England are not only unacquainted with 
military railways, but even (except in such cases 
as India) with Government railways, the idea may 
appear a strange one. But in a world where any- 
body who is not an official is a nobody, and where 
military officials are at the head of the hierarchy of 
powers, it is less surprising. ^Not only was the con- 
struction of the line entrusted to a lieutenant-general 
(General Armenkoff having since been reappointed 


for two years director-in-chief of the railway), bul 
the technical and, to a large extent, the manual 
labour was in military hands. The same may be 
said of the working staff at this moment. Civilians 
have been and still are employed as surveyors, 
architects, and engineers ; but the bulk of the staff is 
composed of soldiers of the line. The engines are in 
many cases driven by soldiers ; the station-masters 
are officers, or veterans who have been wounded in 
battle ; and the guards, conductors, ticket-collectors, 
and pointsmen, as well as the telegraph and post- 
office clerks attached to the stations, are soldiers also. 
It cannot be doubted that this peculiarity contributed 
much to the economy of original construction, just 
as it has since done to the efficiency of daily admin- 

Material of The line itself is on a five-foot gauge, which is 
* e me uniform with the railway system of European Eussia, 
but not with that of British India. The rails, which 
are all of steel, were made, partly in St. Petersburg, 
partly in Southern Eussia, and were bought by the 
Government at rather high prices in order to en- 
courage native manufacture. They are from 19 to 
22 feet long, and are laid upon wooden sleepers, at 
the rate of 2,000 sleepers for every mile, being simply 
spiked down, after the universal Eussian fashion, 
without chairs or bolts. Every single piece of timber, 
iron, or steel employed was brought from the forests 
or workshops of Eussia, for the most part down the 
Volga and across the Caspian. The sleepers cost 8d. 
apiece in Eussia, 3s. upon delivery in Transcaspia. 


The line is a single one from start to finish, except at 
the stations, where there are invariably sidings, and 
sometimes triangles, for an engine to reverse ; and is 
laid upon a low earthwork or embankment thrown up 
with the soil scooped out of a shallow trench on either 
side. The permanent way is not metalled. Stone for 
the railway buildings, particularly sandstone, was 
found in great quantity in the quarries of the Persian 
mountains. Bricks were in some cases collected from 
the ruined cities and villages that everywhere abound, 
in others were sun-dried or baked in kilns. 

Two railway battalions of from 1,000 to 1,500 character 
men each were employed on the works. The first of workmen 
these, which laid the rails to Kizil Arvat in 1881, and 
whose headquarters are still at the latter place, has 
since been engaged in the service of the entire line. 
The second which was specially recruited in 1885 
from many regiments, men being chosen with indi- 
vidual aptitudes for the work has laid the long 
stretch of rails to Samarkand. The unskilled labour 
was performed by natives, chiefly Turkomans, Per- 
sians, and Bokhariots, who used their own implements 
and tools, and of whom at one time over 20,000 
were employed. They made the earthworks, cuttings 
and embankments, while the soldiers followed behind 
them, placing and spiking down the rails. The com- 
mon soldier's pay was from 10$. to 11. a month ; the 
engineer's from 4/. to 1 01. The wages of the native 
workmen varied according to the demand for labour 
(there never being any lack of supply), and rose gradu- 
ally from 4d. a day to Id. and even 8d. One of the 




employe's told me that the Turkomans were the best 
labourers, better than the Bokhariots, and much 
better than the Persians. The latter are as strong as 
oxen, but are incurably idle and very cowardly. No 
doubt the employment of the natives in the construc- 
tion of the line, and the security they thereby en- 
joyed of fair and regular pay, has had a great deal to 
do will) the rapid pacification of the country; just as 

\ of 
roust ruc- 


the employment of the Cdiil/ais and native tribesmen 
of the Reluchistan frontier, whom I saw engaged 
upon the Quetta railway early in 1888, has produced 
a most tranquillising effect in Pishin. 

While the Russians were occupied in laying the 
railway, their local habitation was a working train, 
which moved forward with the line itself, and which 
contained, besides larder, kitchen, dining, ambulance, 


smithy, and telegraph wagons, acconnnodal ion in two- 
storied carriages for 1,500 officers and men. The 
latter were divided into two brigades of equal num- 
ber, who worked for six hours each out of the twenty- 
four, the one from 6 A.M. to noon, the other from noon 
to 6 P.M. Twice a day another train came up in the 
rear from the base, bringing food, water, material and 
rolling stock. The latter was conducted to the front 


on a small movable narrow-gauge line three miles 
long which \vas temporarily laid alongside of the main 
rails, and which advanced in their company. I was 
told by the Colonel of the 2nd Railway Battalion 
that the maximum rate of advance was four miles in 
the day, and the normal rate over two; though in wind 
and rain it sometimes sank to half a mile, or less. 
As regards the cost of the entire line I was pre- 



sented with slightly differing estimates; and there 
is no doubt that the latter part was executed more 
cheaply than the first. Striking an average, how- 
ever, over the whole line, we may accept the 
following figures as approximately correct : 4,500. 
a mile, all included ; though as the rails and rolling 
stock, which amounted to about two-fifths of the 
entire cost, were supplied to General Annenkoff by 
Government order from Russian workshops, the 
charge actually incurred upon the spot did not 
amount to more than 2,70(M. a mile. Irregular grants 
were however made from time to time for particular 
objects ; and if these are included the total cost would 
be quite 5,000/. a mile, upon the former basis of cal- 
culation. A considerable additional expenditure has 
also been needed since for the repair or reconstruction 
of faulty work and for the unfinished platforms, 
stations, sheds, and buildings generally along the line, 
a credit of 200,000. having been allowed to General 
Annenkoff for those purposes. It is difficult to dis- 
tinguish between the cost of the line per se, and its 
cost plus these accessories. Nevertheless it is prob- 
ably one of the cheapest railways that have ever been 
constructed. 1 

A few words as to the facilities and difficulties 
Facilities which were encountered, and the relative strength of 
which largely determined the cost of execution. It 

1 The Gazette Ritsse for February 1888 estimated the annual cost 
to the nation of the Transcaspian railway as at least 400,OOOJ. But* 
General Annenkoff claims to have reduced this sum by more than one 
half. The Council of the Empire has lately, however (July 1889), voted 
him a further sum of 600,0()0/. for the completion of the undertaking. 


has frequently been claimed that this railway is an as- 
tonishing engineering phenomenon, almost a miracle, 
inasmuch as it traverses a country previously be- 
lieved to be inaccessible to such a method of loco- 
motion. 1 In opposition to this view I am tempted to 
affirm that except for the local dearth of material due 
to the appalling desolation of the country, it is the 
easiest and simplest railway that has ever been built. 
The region which it penetrates is as flat as a billiard 
table for almost the entire distance, the steepest gra- 
dient met with being only 1 in 150. There was, 
therefore, apart from the greater facility of construc- 
tion, no difficulty in transporting heavy wagons and 
bringing up long and loaded trains. There are no 
tunnels, and only a few insignificant cuttings in the 
sandhills. Sometimes the rails run in a bee line for 
20 or 25 miles without the slightest deviation to right 
or left. In a country for the most part destitute of 
water, it is not surprising to find that over a distance 
of 900 miles only three bridges were required, across 
the Tejend, across the Murghab at Merv, and across 
the Amu Daria the latter a very considerable work 
beyond Tcharjui. 2 The speed which might be at- 
tained on a line possessing such advantages ought to 
be very great ; but the far from solid character of the 
substructure has hitherto prevented anything beyond 
a maximum of 30 miles an hour, while the average 

1 The Russian writer, I. Y. Vatslik, sums up his account of the 
enterprise in these words : * Thus was this Titanic work gloriously 
brought to an end by this indefatigable hero ' (i.e. Annenkoff.) 

8 I speak of bridges of any size or importance. There are fifty-six 
bridges in all, if we include those over ditches and dry water-courses. 


speed is from 10 to 20, according to the character of 
the region traversed. In time of war/ when heavily 
charged trains would be following each other in swift 
succession to the front, a higher average than 12 or 
15 miles could not reasonably be counted upon. 
These in addition to the pacific attitude of the in- 
habitants, who have been thoroughly cowed since 
Geok Tepe, the abundance and cheapness of labour, 
the absence of contractors, and, lastly, what every 
one admits to have been the indomitable energy and 
excellent management of General Annenkoff have 
been the main advantages enjoyed by the Eussians. 
Difficulties On the other hand must be set the difficulties 

of water 

of the route, arising in the mam from two causes 
the scarcity of water and the plethora of sand. 
If in many parts a slight exchange could have 
been effected of these two commodities, much 
labour might have been spared, and many hearts 
would still be gladdened. .For the first 110 
miles from Uzun Ada there is no sweet water at all, 1 
the first source of drinkable water being in the 
tiny oasis of Kazanjik, whither it has been brought 
in pipes from a reservoir filled by a mountain stream. 
The latter affords a type of the main, though 
a very precarious source of supply ; for whilst 
during half the year the torrent-beds are empty, 
from time to time there rushes down a cataract 
that sweeps all before it, tearing up the rails, and 

1 At the stations of Holla Kari, Bala I shorn, and Aiclin there is a 
little water ; but it is precarious in quantity, brackish in taste, and 
barely drinkable. 


converting the desert into a lagoon. One such cata- 
strophe occurred at the opening ceremony, and de- 
layed General Annenkoffs guests many weary hours 
near Kizil Arvat. But these incidents are fortunately 
rare. To meet the scanty supplies, the distillation of 
seawater was originally resorted to, and condensing 
machines were established at Uzun Ada and Michael- 
ovsk. But latterly the plan lias been more favoured 
of conveying the water from places where it exists to 
those w r here it does not in great wooden vats, stand- 
ing upon platform trucks ; and these too may often 
be seen permanently planted at the various stations. 
Artesian wells were bored at first, but have resulted 
in complete failure. A more scientific use is now 
being made of water brought in conduits or pipes 
from the mountains, and filling the stationary cisterns 
by its own pressure ; of natural sources and springs, 
and of canalisation. In the sand-dunes between Merv 
and Tcharjui, the water is conducted to the line by 
subterranean galleries, like the Afghan karczes, lead- 
ing from the wells. The scarcity of water would, 
however, be a serious consideration in the event of 
the transport of large bodies of troops and baggage 
animals in time of war, unless this occurred at a 
season when the natural sources were full. 

A greater difficulty presented itself in the shape Difficulties 
perhaps I might almost say, in the shapeless- 
ness of the vast and shifting desert sands. Of 
the 650 miles, which are covered by the railway, 
between the Caspian and the Amu I)aria, 200 
at least are through a howling wilderness. This 


may be divided into three main sections : (1) the 
first thirty miles from the Caspian; (2) the stretch 
between the Merv Oasis and the Oxus; and (3) a 
narrow belt between the Oxus and Bokhara. Here 
but little vegetation is either visible, or, with certain 
exceptions, possible. The sand, of the most brilliant 
yellow line, is piled in loose hillocks and mobile 
dunes, and is swept hither and thither by powerful 
winds. It has all the appearance of a sea of troubled 
waves, billow succeeding billow in melancholy suc- 
cession, with the sand driving like spray from their 
summits, and great smooth-swept troughs lying be- 
tween, on which the winds leave the imprint of their 
fingers in wavy indentations, just like an ebb-tide on 
the sea-shore. These were the conditions that pre- 
sented the only really formidable obstacle to the 
military engineer. 
contri- Several methods were employed of resisting 

this insidious and implacable enemy. Near the 

Caspian the permanent way was soaked with sea- 
water to give it consistency, the rapid evapora- 
tion of the climate speedily solidifying the sur- 
face ; in other parts it was covered over with a 
sort of armour-plating of clay. This prevented the 
earthwork from being swept away, and the sleepers 
laid bare. Elsewhere, and in the more desolate 
regions, other plans were adopted. The sandhills 
contiguous to the line were planted with tamarisk, 
wild oats, and desert shrubs, nurseries for which 
were started in the Persian mountains ; or with that 
strange and interesting denizen of the wilderness, the 

ifl^^^A^'jX fc' r : 



saxaoul* which, with a scanty and often shabby 
uppergrowth, strikes its sturdy roots deep down into 
the sand, and somehow or other derives sustenance 
from that to which it gives stability and permanence. 
Fascines of the branches of this plant were also cut, 
laid at right angles to the rails, along the outer edge 
of the earthwork or embankment, and packed down 
under a layer of sand. On the tops of the dunes may 
often be seen half-buried wooden palisades, 3 ft. or 4 ft. 
high, constructed of light laths, and planted perpen- 
dicularly to resist the prevailing winds, which by 
piling up the sand against them, arrest its further 
progress. These were copied from the fencing em- 
ployed to resist the snowdrifts in the steppes of 
Southern Eussia. In spite of all these precautions 
the sand continues and must always continue to be 
a serious peril to the line, and when the hurricanes 
blow, which are common at certain seasons of the 
year, the rails in the regions I have indicated will 
always be liable to be blocked, and can only be kept 
clear by relief parties of workmen sweeping the 
deposit away as fast as it accumulates. 

A third difficulty, in the total absence of coal Difficulty 

-I/.TI n i 7 -i -i * fue l ^d 

and (with the exception of the saxaoul, which lighting 

1 The Saxaoul (haloxylon qmmodendrori), called zalc by the Mongols 
further East, is the most widely distributed of the sand-flora of Central 
Asia. It is met with on the shores of the sea, and at an elevation of 
10,000 feet, and from the Caspian to China. Growing to a height 
of sometimes twelve or fifteen feet, and with a thickness near the root 
of half a foot or more, it is used by man for fuel, and by camels for 
food, the former burning the stumps and branches, which ignite like 
coal, and give a great heat, while the latter munch the stems and 


was too valuable to be permanently sacrificed) 
of firewood, was the heating of the engines, and 
in a less degree the lighting and warming of 
the stations, telegraph offices, and trains. Here 
it was at first thought that other local resources 
might prove sufficient. Naphtha was found in the 
hills of Naphtha Dagh and Buja Dagli near the 
Caspian, and the narrow-gauge Decauville railway, 
which has been spoken of, was opportunely utilised 
to run from the station of Bala Ishem to these 
springs. Their produce has since turned out to be 
either unremunerative or inadequate ; and the residual 
naphtha, or astakti, being the refuse left over from 
petroleum after distillation, by which the locomotives 
are driven, is now purchased from the prolific oil-fields 
of Baku. The tenders for the year 1889 specified 
the total amount required as 6,000,000 gallons. 
Large reservoirs of this naphtha are. kept at the 
superior stations, the tank at Askabad containing 
80,000 gallons ; and it is transported along the line 
in cistern-cars, holding 2,400 gallons each. In dwell- 
ing-houses the nuisance arising from the smoke of 
astakti has been corrected by the use of the Nikitkin 
apparatus. When I add that the economy of petro- 
leum is six times that of coal, as burned upon 
European railways, and that it possesses twofold the 
efficiency in generating steam, it will be seen that 
Nature, if she has stinted her assistance to the Rus- 
sians in other respects, has here bestowed it with no 
ungenerous hand. Petroleum is also consumed in 
large quantities in lamps, in the form of kerosene oil. 


About the rolling-stock of the new railway I Roiling- 

. T/T / stock of 

found it very difficult to gain precise information, the railway 
It is, indeed, as hard to extract accurate statistics 
or calculations from a Eussian as to squeeze juice 
from a peachstone. In this respect he is at the oppo- 
site pole of character from the American, who inun- 
dates you in the railway carriage with a torrent of 
figures demonstrating to a nicety the latest transac- 
tions of the business market of his native town, the 
number of trains that run per diem through its rail- 
way station, or, as he prefers to call it, depot, or the 
income in dollars and cents of its most reputable 
citizens. Dr. Heyfelder in his work gives the number 
of locomotives on the first section of the line to Amu 
Daria as 84, on the second to Samarkand as 26, total 
110 ; the total number of freight cars as 1,240, and 
of platform cars as 570. M. Mestchcrin's figures 
were respectively 90, 1,200, and 600, no great dis- 
parity. But on the line itself, whereas I was told by 
one of the employes that there were only 66 engines 
in all, 48 on the first section and 18 on the second 
(though 20 more had been ordered), and 600 wagons, 
300 of each sort, elsewhere I heard from another 
official that there were 150 locomotives on the first 
section of the line and 28 on the second, and over 
1,000 wagons. I fancy that all these calculations 
omit the passenger wagons proper, which are at 
present rather a secondary consideration, many of 
them being only baggage wagons with windows cut 
in the side, and seats introduced down the middle. 
Of first-class carriages there is only one, which is 


reserved for the use of the inspector of the line, 
but which was courteously placed at the disposal of 
our party upon landing at Uzun Ada. We were 
also accommodated with one of the best second- 
class carriages, which was brand new, and six of 
which have recently been ordered in Russia at a 
cost of 0,000 roubles, or GOO/., each. They consist 
of a large wagon built in the foreign fashion, with 
two separate compartments containing two long 
seats or couches each, and with four similar com- 
partments opening on to a gangway which runs 
down the side throughout and conducts to a lavatory 
and cabinet at either end. More comfortable carri- 
ages I never travelled in. The old two- storied wagons, 
which arc still running, will shortly be discontinued, 
because of the heavy strain they impose on the line. 
There are, further, 120 wooden tank cars convey- 
ing water or naphtha, and occasionally attached to 
the trains, so as to make them independent of the 
stations. General Aimenkoff's calculation was that 
he ought to have 12 pairs of trains running on each 
section with 45 wagons each. As the line becomes 
developed there will doubtless be a considerable 
increase in the rolling-stock, which from my own 
observation I should say approached to the lower 
rather than to the higher figure. Of engine sheds I 
saw but few on the more recent part of the line, 
though it is part of the scheme to provide them at 
most of the stations. 

stations Tliese are of a widely different character, graduat- 

ing from substantial structures in brick and stone to 


dingy wooden shanties, half buried in the sand. 
There are 61 in all, 45 between Uzun Ada and Ainu 
Daria, and 16 between Ainu Daria and Samarkand; 
and their average distance apart is therefore 15 miles. 1 
Five of them, Askabad, Merv, Amu Daria, Bokhara, 
and Samarkand, are ranked as first-class stations ; 
the first only is so far complete, but imposing 
fabrics of brick and stone are rising from the ground 
on the other sites. Of the second-class stations there 
are three Uzun Ada, Michaelovsk, and Kizil Arvat. 
Of the third-class four, and all the rest of the 
fourth. A fully equipped station is to consist of 
the station and its offices a guest house (analogous 
to the Indian Dak Bungalow), a telegraph office, 
a station-master's house, and the quarters for the 
employes. Those that have already been raised 
consist of single-storied buildings made either of stone 
or of sun-baked bricks plastered over with lime, with 
stone copings and mouldings ; and all have flat roofs 
smeared with asphalt from the petroleum wells. The 
pattern is a very neat and practical one, and was 
furnished by a young German engineer named Urlaub. 
It is perhaps worth while mentioning that the com- 
missariat arrangements are on the whole decidedly 
good. The train stops at least half or three-quarters 
of an hour for a mid-day and an evening meal, which 
are excellently provided in the railway stations, while 
there are constant and almost irritating pauses of 
from five to twenty minutes, which can be sustained 
by the consumption of first-rate tea at Id. a glass, 

1 Vide the List of Stations in the * Appendix.' 


of superb melons at less than Id. each, and of grapes 
at a fraction of a farthing a bunch. Some of the trains 
are furnished with refreshment cars, but I did not 
happen to travel by one of these. 

Duration Finally I may add that regular trains run daily 

journey from the Caspian to the Oxus, though the steamboat 
service with Baku is only bi-weekly either way ; and 
twice a week, at present, from the Oxus to Samarkand. 
The entire journey from Uzun Ada to Samarkand 
without a break occupies 72 hours, or three days and 
nights, for 900 miles, i.e. an average of about 12 
miles an hour including halts. The cost of a second- 
class thrpugh ticket is 38 roubles, or 3/. 16s., i.e. at the 
rate of only Id. per mile. Travelling, therefore, is 
cheap, though hardly expeditious. 








To Margiana from the Hyrcanian cliffs 
Of Caucasus, and dark Iberian dales. 

MILTON, l*aradise Regained, 317. 

Uzun Ada, present and future Start from Uzun Ada Character of 
the scenery The Persian mountains The desert of Kara Kum 
The four oases Vegetation of the oases The Akhal-Tekke 
oasis Statistics of its resources The desert landscape Varia- 
tions of climate Qeok Tepe, the old Turkoman fortress Story 
of the siege of Geok Tepe Preparations for assault Assault 
and capture, January 24, 1881 Pursuit and massacre of the 
Turkomans Impression left upon the conquered- -Skobeleff and 
the massacre His principle of warfare Character of Skobeleff - 
His marvellous courage His caprice Idiosyncrasies Anecdotes 
of his whims Story of the Persian Khan Final criticism- - 
Turkoman peasants Askabad Government of Transcaspia 
Resources and taxation Buildings of the town Strategical im- 
portance of Askabad and roads into Persia Use of the railway by 
pilgrims to Meshed and Mecca- -The Atek oasis and Dushak 
Refusal of permission to visit Kelat and Meshed Kelat-i-Nadiri 
The Tejend oasis. 

FROM the technical details dealt with in the preceding 
chapter, I now pass to a record of my journey and the 
experiences that it involved. * At the point where my 
narrative was interrupted, it had brought my fellow- 
travellers and myself to the eastern shore of the Cas- 
pian. Uzun Ada, where we landed, and which was 
jnade the western terminus of the railway in August 
1886, is certainly not an attractive or inspiring 


spot, though it perhaps hardly deserves the savage 
abuse with which it has been assailed, any more than 
it does the laudatory exaggeration of French and 
Russian scribes. The word means Long Island, and 
the town is accordingly built on a low and straggling 
islet of sand, the yellow of which glitters fiercely 
between the opposite blues of sky and sea. There is 
not a blade of grass or a drop of water to be seen, 
and the heat in the summer months must be appalling. 
The town consists of a number of small wooden houses 
and shops (children must be born and exist at Uzun 
Ada, because I actually saw a toy shop) reared in a 
promiscuous fashion on the sand, which is elsewhere 
covered with sheds, warehouses, and other large 
wooden buildings. 

Most of the houses arrived, ready made, in num- 
bered blocks, from Astrakhan, where they had cost 
G0. apiece, A freight charge of 12/., and a further 
3/. for the expenses of erection, raised tfre actual 
figure to 75/. each. The more important buildings 
were constructed upon the spot with material brought 
from Russia. I could see the reservoir aftfi engine- 
house where the condensation of seawater ^effected ; 
and though the bulk of the water supply arrives by 
train every day from the interior, I observed signs 
that these artificial agencies were still inrase. The 
piers were loaded with bales of cotton -knd other 
merchandise, and a good deal of business ajpqpeaijed 
be going on. Uzun Ada is, however, thoi|g] 
able to Michaelovsk, a very unsatisfactory anchc 
for it contains only from 10 to 12 feet of wjuerj 








constantly silting up, the channel requiring to be kept 
open by dredges ; whilst in winter the bay is some- 
times thickly frozen over and quite inaccessible to 
navigation. It is not surprising therefore to hear 
that a commission has sat and reported in favour of 
moving the landing-place to the old harbour of Kras- 
riovodsk, 80 miles to the north, where the greater 
distance is compensated by an ample depth of water 
and by excellent facilities for disembarkation. As 
soon as the line begins to pay its way, we may expect 
to see the removal effected. The flimsy and ephemeral 
character of the present town, which only numbers about 
800 inhabitants, will then be seen to have harmonised 
both with its sudden and mechanical origin and with 
its abrupt demise ; and Uznn Ada will vanish from 
existence, unwept and unhonoured, if not altogether 
unsung. 1 
start from The railway station is at the distance of a few 

U/UIl Ada , n ir -i i i 

hundred yards from the landing-stage ; and the tra- 
veller ploughs his way to the platform (which does 
not exist) through an ankle-depth of sand. Four 
hours are allowed for an exhaustive inspection of the 

1 The relative merits of the two termini, and the question of re- 
moval, were ably discussed by M. Seme'noff, vice-president of the 
Russian Imperial Geographical Society, in the Proceedings of that 
Society for 1888 (vol. xxiv.). He described Krasnovodsk as providing 
a better, more convenient, safer, and deeper anchorage. Neither of 
the two places contain supplies of fresh water sufficient to feed the 
engines ; though near Krasnovodsk is a source that meets the drinking 
requirements of the small total of inhabitants (700). On the other 
hand, Uzun Ada is recommended by the money that has already been 
sunk there, by its greater nearness to Askabad, and, as a consequence, 
by the greater cheapness of transport. The question, in M. Sdm&aoffs 
opinion, will be mainly determined by the relative cost of debarkation 
at the two places. 



'-'V-i, : ?'''"' - ; ! ' v 



F L> 


local features, or are more , probably intended as a 

tribute to the possible delays of the Caspian. Finally 

the train starts, crosses a long embankment of 1,300 

yards, by which the islet is united to the mainland, 

and plunges into the sullen dunes of the desert. 

character I have in the preceding chapter described the 

Boenery. main features of the first 30 miles from the Gas- 


piTHian pian. A funereal tale of destruction, both to man 


and beast, engulfed in their whirling crests, might 
these cruel sand-waves tell ; and the bones of many 
a victim lie trampled fathoms deep under the pitiless 
tide. The peaks of the great Balkan range on the 
north, rising in points to a height of 5,000 ft., afford 
a welcome relief to the eye, and, after a wide de- 
pression in the surface level, through which the Oxus 
or one of its confluents once disembogued into the 
Caspian, are succeeded by the inferior elevation of 
the Little Balkans on the south. These are presently 
merged in the splendid barrier of the Persian moun- 
tains, which, first under the name of the Kuren Dagh, 
with an average height of 1,500 to 2,000ft., and later 
on, while the elevation increases, as the Kopet Dagh, 
rising to 5,000 and 6,000 ft. and even higher, over- 
hang the railway, with an axis inclined from north- 
west to south-east, for nearly 300 miles, till their 
southern spurs are confounded in the mountains of 
Gulistan. On their far side, just over the summit, 
runs the Persian frontier, which was fixed by the 
treaty with Bussia in December 1881, arid has been 
demarcated by commissioners since. Very grand and 
impressive these mountains are, with an outline ever 


original and new, and with grey flanks scoured by 
deep oval gullies, either torn by the irresistible action 
of water or representing the depressions between the 
immemorial geological folds of the mountains as they 
emerged from the superincumbent sea. One is the 
more inclined to the former view from the recent 
experience of the railway itself, which has twice 
during the last three months been bodily swept away 
for some distance by one of these terrific rushes, 
descending from the hills after a sudden storm. 

If the mountains on the south supply a perpetual The Desert 

. of Kara 

variety of shape and summit, there is a more than Kum 
equivalent monotony in the spectacle that extends as 
far as the eye can reach to the north. Here nothing 
is visible but a wide and doleful plain, wholly desti- 
tute, or all but destitute, of vegetation, and sweeping 
with unbroken uniformity to a blurred horizon. 
This desert is the famous Kara Kum or Black Sand, 
which, with intervals of dunes and interruptions of 
so-called oases, stretches from the Caspian to the 
Oxus, and from Khorasan to Khiva and the Aral Sea. 
Originally part of the old Aralo-Caspian basin, it has, 
partly by an upheaval of surface, partly by the action 
of air-currents, been converted into an utter wilderness. 
In its worst parts, and they are at first the more 
frequent, it consists of a perfectly level expanse, 
plastered over with marl, which is cracked and 
blistered by the sun, and is covered with a thin top- 
dressing of saline crystallisation. So hard is the 
surface in dry weather that a camel will barely leave 
the impression of its footmark, and that the torrents 



from the mountains, 
unable to penetrate 
the crust, lie outspread 
in lakes and pools. 
That this sorrowful 
wasle was once at the 
bottom of the sea is 
proved by the nume- 
rous specimens of 
Aralo-Caspian Mollusc 
fauna that have been 
g found imbedded in 


H the sand ; but I do 

v not suppose that their 
5 value would induce 
even the most austere 


pupil of science to 
g veto a proposal, were 
such within the bounds 
of possibility, for the 
resumption of the sta- 
tus quo ante on its part. 
The desiccated gulfs 
and channels which in 
some portions furrow 
its surface, after sup- 
plying an innocent 
pastime to a genera- 
tion of theorists, are 
now generally under- 
stood to mark, no! former beds of the Oxus, but 


rp^'fw'l l t*4i - 


: i : ii 

Bt= Jjfh'lV I ,,' 1 l f .N, rt ' 

"f'T "n'K! 4 "^ 


Jl T-, 1 '^'''" 1 " 1 "',' ' 

fa ^'^MV^ 

y:"ia* *,s v 

W5</ rl <''- 

'' 'il/jll''! r 1 ' L 


! 1> 

:^.Si-^^ .?-' 
( *&^;;^f 

/,,',' ',',^ jj^ 



" Jl *fi? 

the ancient shore- 
line of a much 
larger Caspian. 

At intervals The four 

i -, . ouses 

.tins desert is bro- 
ken by belts of 
more or less culti- 
vable soil, which, 
under the modest 
standards of so 
barren, a country, 
are dignified by 
the nanicof oases. 
There are four 
such oases be- 
tween llzun Ada 
and the Oxus, 
viz. those of Ak- 
hal, Atek (or the 
mountain base), 
An oasis in these 
parts has no re- 
lation to the a 
priori picture, 
painted by our 
imagination, in 
which rivulets of 
water course 
throuh a wealth 

of verdure beneath umbrageous lives.. 

It is simply 


a designation for such portions of the desert as have 
been reclaimed, by moisture naturally or artificially 
supplied, for the service of man ; the extent of their 
fertility depending entirely upon the poverty or abund- 
ance of the streams. Geologically their surface con- 
sists of a layer of alluvial soil, which has been washed 
down by rain and snow from the easily disintegrated 
face of the mountains, and has formed a deposit along 
the base. In places the fertility has been increased 
by the natural action of the later geological periods. 
There is a ijood deal of variety in the vegetation 

G T f 

of these oases. In the more sterile parts they seem 
to support little but a stunted growth of tamarisk, 
absinthe, camelthorii, and light desert shrubs ; though 
even here in the spring-time there is a sudden and 
magical efflorescence of bright prairie ilowers. With 
the torrid summer heats these swiftly fade and die, 
and the abomination of desolation then sets in. 
Elsewhere, under the influence of a richer water 
supply, barley, rice, maize, millet, sorghum, and 
lucerne are succeeded in the most fertile districts 
by orchards and gardens, which produce an amazing 
crop of melons, apricots, peaches, and grapes. 

Kizil Arvat, the original terminus of the railway, 
oasis which is the first important place we reach, and 
which has 2,000 inhabitants, and, what is even more 
remarkable, a fountain playing at the station, is com- 
monly described as marking the beginning of the 
Akhal oasis, the belt of country inhabited by that 
tough race of brigands, whose long career of raid 
and pillage was summarily extinguished at Geok 


Tepe by Skobeleff in 1881. Of this oasis, which 
extends for a length of between 150 and 200 miles 
with varying fertility, the Turkomans have a pro- 
verb that says : fc Adam when driven forth from Eden 
never found a finer place for settlement than Akhal ' ; 
a boast, the vanity of which is not untempered with 
discretion, seeing that it stops short of the assertion 
that he ever did settle there. For this unexpected 
modesty the traveller in a strange cduiitry may well 
feel grateful. 

The latest figures relating to the Akhal Tekke statistics 

~ o of its re- 

Oasis, which I derive from a report by M. Baieff, who BOUrceB 

was sent by the Russian Minister of Finance in 1887 
to enquire into the boundary districts of Persia, 
Turkomania, and Afghanistan, are as follows, lie 
reported the oasis to contain 7,904 kibitkas, with a 
population of 32,990 natives, as well as 1,700 others, 
differently housed. The animal wealth of the oasis 
was returned thus : 11,760 camels, 2,500 horses, 
150,900 sheep, and 1,600 other cattle. In the light 
of what I shall have to say later about the Turkoman 
militia, it is interesting to note that he reported the 
superior breed of Turkoman horses to have become 
almost extinct since the war. 

Through an entire day we traversed this plain, 
the features of which become positively fatiguing in 
their shameless uniformity. Clustered here and there 
are to be seen the kibitkas or circular tents of the 
Turkomans, who have been tempted back to their 
old hunting-grounds. But these, which represent 
the peaceful life of the present, cannot be compared 


in number with the small clay watch-towers, dotted 
about like pepper-pots all over the expanse, and the 
rectangular walled forts and enclosures with towers 
at the corners, which recall the fierce unsettled 
existence, the dreaded alamans or raids, and the tur- 
bulent manners of the past. Occasionally are to be 
seen great circular tumuli here called Kurgans, 

I * ' 1. 1 '* , . L, 1 .1. IF *L wili, .nitJ**ifcljyiilkfafjf^^ 


which are supposed either to be the milestones of 
forgotten nomad advance or the cemeteries of the 
still more forgotten dead. Some are circular and 
others oval in shape ; they are sometimes 40 or 50 
feet high, with stoop sides, and a circumference at the 
base of 200 or oOO yards. Ever and anon a solitary 
sand-column, raised by a passing puff of air, starts 
up, and giddily revolving on its fragile axis whirls 


away over the plain. This spectacle extends to the 
northern horizon, where it is lost in the mirage 
which is prevalent in these parts, and the liquid 
tremulous medium of which transforms the feature- 
less dismal plain into luscious lakes of water with 
floating islets of trees. Often were the soldiers of 
SkobelefFs brigades deceived and disappointed by 
this never-stale conjuring trick of the desert ; and 
the oldest traveller would probably confess to having 
succumbed to its ever-green illusion. 

Among the remarkable features of this tract of Variations 

.of climate 

country, none is more extraordinary than the varia- 
tions of climate, which in their violent extremes are 
out of all proportion to the latitude in which it lies, 
the same as that of Smyrna, of Lisbon, and of San 
Francisco. In summer the heat is that of a seven 
times heated furnace, and the scanty water-sources 
are insufficient to sustain life. The winter cold is 
sometimes Arctic ; entire herds of cattle are frozen 
to death in the steppes ; a deep snow covers the 
ground to the depth of two or three feet ; and many 
human lives are lost in the storms. The past winter 
(1888-9), for instance, has been one of uncommon 
severity : the thermometer registered 20 degrees 
(Eeaumur) of frost ; water was sold along the railway 
at 2s. a pailful ; and the needs of fuel have wrought 
shocking havoc among the rapidly dwindling 
supplies of the Saxaoul. These climatic vicissitudes 
render campaigning in any but the spring and 
autumn months of the year a very precarious ven- 
ture, and might abruptly suspend the most successful 


military operations. The campaign of Geok Tepe 
could not have reached so speedy and favourable an 
issue but for the abnormal mildness of the winter of 
1880--], when the stars in their courses fought for 

We passed Bahmi, a place once of some little 
Turkoman importance, and at 2.30 on the afternoon of the day 

fortress A J 

after leaving the Caspian stopped at the station of 
Geok Tope, about sixty yards from the mouldering 
ruins of the famous Tekke fortress. Looking out of 
the window beforehand, we had already caught sight 
of the western face of the great rampart, and of a 
small fort outside where were trees and some mills 
worked by the Tekkes during the siege with the aid 
of the stream that entered the encampment from this 
quarter. Towering above the outer wall we could 
also see in the north-western corner a lofty mound, 
which was used as a post of observation and as a 
battery by the besieged. The entire enclosure, which 
is still fairly perfect, measured 2 miles 1,275 yards 
in circuit, and the walls of rammed clay though 
crumbling to ruin and though stripped of their upper 
half immediately after the capture in order to cover 
the bodies of the thousands of slain are still on the 
average about twelve feet high. In their face are to 
be seen the holes scooped out by the shells which 
imbedded themselves uselessly in the earthy mass ; 
0-nd on the side running parallel with the line are 
still the two breaches on either side of the S.E. angle 
which were created by the Kussian mines. In the 
centre is the main exit, masked by an outer fortifica- 


tion, from which the impetuous sallies were made 
that four times swept down like a tornado upon the 
Eussian camp. The latter was to the south of the 
site now occupied by the station, and between it and 
the mountains, from the top of one of which, on 
January 24, 1881, Edmund O'Donovan, striving to 
push his way to SkobelefFs army, and reaching the 
crest at the critical moment, looked down as from 
a balloon upon the distant assault, and watched 
through his field-glass the crowd of fugitives as they 
streamed in the agony of flight across the plain. I 
have always thought this one of the most dramatic 
incidents of modern history. Clambering up the 
ruined bank, I found that it consisted of a double 
wall the whole way round, or rather of a single 
wall of enormous breadth, between the lofty battle- 
ments of which on the top was a place where men 
were placed to fire at the besiegers, and where, when 
the fortress was stormed, many of them were found 
sitting as they had been shot perhaps days before, 
with their bodies pierced by bullets, and their heads 
fallen forward between their knees. 1 The bones of 

1 General Grodekoff in his work (chaps, xiv., xv.), supplies the 
following details of the Turkoman fortress. It was a quadrilateral 
enclosure, its north and south sides measuring respectively 980 and 
660 yards, its eastern and western faces 1,680 and 1,575 yards. The 
wall consisted of an earthen rampart, 35 feet thick at the base, and 
from 21 to 28 feet thick at the top, and 15 feet high, thrown up and 
trodden hard by men and horses, and then covered with a 5 -feet coat- 
ing of mud. On the top of the wall were an inner and an outer parapet 
4 feet high, and respectively 2 j and 3 feet thick, with a large number 
of traverses, designed to prolong the defence, even against an enemy 
who had penetrated to the interior. In the outer parapet loopholes 
were cut 9 inches wide, at a distance of 3| feet apart. All round the 
outside was a ditch, with varying depth of from 6 to 9 feet, and breadth 


camels, and sometimes of men, may still be seen lying 
within the desolate enclosure ; and for long after the 
assault and capture, it was impossible to ride over 
the plain without the horse-hoofs crushing into 
human skulls. Visiting this interesting spot in the 
company of an eye-witness of the siege, who was 
brought into frequent personal contact with the Com- 
maiider-in-Chief, I was made acquainted with details 
about the storming of the fortress, as well as about 
the personality of the extraordinary man who con- 
ducted it, that have not found their way into the 
works dealing with either subject. 

storjr of The main incidents of the siege and capture of 

of e Geok e Geok Tepe are well known, and may be read in the 


official report of General Skobeleff, which was trans- 
lated into English, and published in this country in 
1881. 1 In March, 1880, Skobeleff was appointed 
to the chief command. Having made a preliminary 
reconnaissance of the Turkoman position in July of 
the same year, he retired to the Caspian, completed 
his preparations there, and in December returned 
with about 7,000 men and over 60 guns to invest the 

of from 12 to 17 feet ; the scarp and coanterscarp being almost perpen- 
dicular, and rifle-pits and steps being dug in places out of the latter. 
In the inside, at the foot of the wall, was also a trench, 42 feet broad, 
but only from 1 foot to 2} feet in depth. There were 21 gates or open- 
ings in the walls, masked by large semicircular traverses outside, the 
ditch being crossed by dykes. A branch from the Sakiz-Yeb stream 
was conducted into the fort through one of these openings, and having 
been separated into two channels, passed out again. A broad open 
space ran down the centre of the enclosure, but in the remaining area 
it was calculated that there were pitched 13,000 kibitkas. 

J Siege and Assault of Denghil Tepe, By General Skobeleff 
(translated). London, 1881. 


fortress, the correct name of which was Denghil 
Tepe, Geok Tepe being the title of a small settlement 
a little further in the desert. Having first cleared 
the Turkomans out of the fortified redoubt of Ycnglii 
Kala at the foot of the cliffs, he pitched his own 
camp there at a distance of a mile from the main 
position at Denghil Tepe, within which were gathered, 
under the command of Makdum Kuli Khan and his 
general, Tekme Sirdar, since dead, the flower of 
the Akhal Tekkes, with their wives and families 
some 35,000 persons, assisted by 10,000 horsemen. 
Between the 1st and the 24th of January, a first, a 
second, and finally a third parallel of siege works 
were laid ; enfilading batteries were erected to rake 
the interior of the fort ; four desperate sallies of the 
besieged, made under cover of darkness, were suc- 
cessfully repelled ; and the Eussian lines were steadily 
pushed forward till at last they were so close that 
the Eussian officers walking to and from the council 
tent were fired at, that lights were forbidden at night 
because they attracted a hail of bullets, and that 
wounded men in the ambulance tents were shot 
again as they lay. Some of the troops were in the 
trenches, where also SkobelefTs tent was pitched ; he 
courted every risk himself, and was never so grati- 
fied as when he heard that his officers had been in 
serious danger and under fire. When the Eussians 
began to dig their mines for the final assault, their 
advanced redoubt was only 70 yards from the Tekke 
ramparts, and the troops in the foremost trenches 
could actually hear the Turkomans talking together 


on the walls, and wondering what their opponents 
were doing, poking their snouts like pigs into the 
ground. Russian sentinels on the watch-towers fre- 
quently overheard the discussions and ejaculations of 
the besieged, and reported to the general the wan- 
ing spirit of the defence. Nevertheless the Tekkes 
fought with amazing desperation and courage. They 
would creep out from the fort at night, crawl over 
the sand, lying motionless perhaps for hours in the 
same position, and finally steal the Russian rifles, 
piled right under the noses of the sentinels, and glide 
stealthily away. 

Prepara- On the 20th of January, breaching operations 

commenced, and part of the wall was knocked down 

by artillery, but was as quickly repaired by the be- 
sieged. Finally the two mines, easterly and westerly, 
were ready ; the former was charged with over a ton 
of gunpowder; and at 1 A.M. on the morning of the 
24th, Lieutenant Ostolopoff and Naval Cadet Meyer l 
volunteered to carry a charge of gun-cotton to the 
walls and explode it in the western breach which had 
already been battered open by the cannon fire. This 
feat was successfully performed. Meyer was shot by 
a bullet through the face, but ultimately recovered, 
and with the aid of an artificial palate can still speak. 
On the morning of the 24th the troops were in 
tee, c jan. position at 6 A.M. The attacking force was divided 

04 1HS1 

into three columns, under Colonels Kuropatkin, 

1 Upon the recommendation of General Gloukhovskoe a Naval 
Brigade had originally been summoned from Cronstadt ^to attempt 
the navigation of the Atrek. When this proved a failure the sailors 
and their officers were sent on to the front. 


Kozelkoff, and Haidaroff, advancing two from the 
south, and one from the west. At 7 A.M. the breach- 
ing battery reopened fire with thirty-six guns upon 
the old breach and soon knocked it down again, the 
shells crashing through the aperture into the densely 
packed interior, where they wrought fearful destruc- 
tion. At 11.20 the gunpowder mine was sprung on 
the S.E. face ; a prodigious column of mingled dust 
and smoke shot high into the air, and, falling, dis- 
closed a yawning cavity fifty yards wide. At the 
same instant the soldiers of the two main storming 
columns, shouting c hurrah/ rushed at the gap, where 
a terrific hand-to-hand fight was waged with bayonet, 
lance, and sword. Eeserves came up from the rear, 
with bands playing, drums beating, and colours 
flying, to support the attack. 

Simultaneously, the third column, with the aid of 
scaling ladders, stormed the western face of the fort. 
Inside was to be seen a sea of tents and a panic- 
stricken but desperate crowd. From the opposite 
direction thousands of fugitives streamed out on to 
the plain ; but all through the day more resolute 
spirits, concealed in huts or holes inside the enclosure, 
continued to start out and fire at the victorious 
enemy. Boulangier, in his book, speaking of the 
assault, says, * At this solemn moment Skobeleff shone 
so splendidly in the eyes of his men, that he seemed 
to their imagination to b 5 a type of the god of war/ 
As a matter of fact it was rather difficult either for 
Skobeleff to shine on this occasion, or for his men to 
see him ; for he took no part in the attack himself, 



but, as a prudent general should, directed the opera- 
tions from the rear. Boulangier's phrase was based 
on a misunderstanding of an account which Dr. 
Heyfelder had given him of a mimic repetition of the 
assault which Skobeleff ordered a few weeks later for 
the entertainment of a distinguished Persian khan, 
and which lie led with boyish enthusiasm himself. 
Within less than an hour of the assault, the three 
columns had joined ranks inside the fort; and in 
close formation, with massed bands, advanced to 
the hill of Denghil Tepe, from which at 1 P.M. the 
two-headed eagle, fluttering in the breeze, proclaimed 
a Eussian victory. 

Pursuit Then ensued the least creditable episode of the 

unearthe entire campaign. At 4 in the afternoon Skobeleff 
l ec l hi fe cavalry through the breach and ordered both 
horse and foot to pursue the retreating enemy and 
to give no quarter. This command was obeyed with 
savage precision by both till darkness fell by the 
infantry (six companies) for a distance of seven miles, 
by the cavalry (a division of dragoons and four 
sotnias of Cossacks) for eleven miles, supported by a 
battery of horse artillery with long range guns. 
Eight thousand persons of both sexes and all ages 
were mercilessly cut down and slain, * On the morn- 
ing after the battle they lay in rows like freshly 
mown hay, as they had been swept down by the 
mitrailleuses and cannon.' In the fort were found the 
corpses of 0,500 men, and some thousands of living 
women and children. There too, in General Grode- 


kofTs own words, ' all who had not succeeded in es- 
caping were killed to a man by the Eussian soldiers, 
the only males spared being the Persian prisoners, 
who were easily recognised by the fetters on their 
legs, and of whom there were about 600 in all. After 
that only women and children, to the number of about 
5,000, were left.' The troops were allowed to loot 
without interruption for four days, and booty to the 
value of 600,000/. was found inside the fortress. In 
the operations of the day the Russian loss was only 
GO killed and 340 wounded ; during the entire cam- 
paign 283 killed and 689 wounded. Within the 
same time Skobeleff admitted that he must have 
destroyed 20,000 of the enemy. 

It was not a rout, but a massacre ; not a defeat, 
but extirpation; and it is not surprising that after 
this drastic lesson, the Tekkes of the Akhal oasis 
have never lifted a little finger against their con- 

An incident related to me in Transcaspia afforded impression 

_ t* i 11 kft upon 

an interesting cor- operation ot the immeasurable the con- 
effect that was produced upon the inhabitants by 
this disastrous day. I have already narrated that 
the Eussian columns advanced to the assault with 
drums beating and bands playing, a favourite plan of 
Skobeleff's whenever he attacked. Five years later, 
when the railway was opened to Askabad, and in the 
course of the inaugural ceremonies the Eussian mili- 
tary music began to play, the Turkoman women and 
children raised woful cries of lamentation, and the 

U L> 


men threw themselves on the ground with their fore- 
heads in the dust. 1 

For the horrible carnage that followed upon the 
capture of Geok Tepe, Skobeleff and the Russians 
cannot escape reproach. The former, though generous 
and merciful towards his own men, had no pity for 
an enemy. To an utter contempt for human life he 
joined a physical excitement on the battlefield, by 
which his followers as well as himself were trans- 
ported. It was written of him that ' he rode to 
battle clad in white, decked with orders, scented and 
curled, like a bridegroom to a wedding, his eyes 
gleaming with wild delight, his voice tremulous with 
joyous excitement.' War was to him the highest 
expression of human force ; and in action he seemed 
to acquire a perfect lust for blood. The Turkomans 
called him Guenz Kanli, or .Bloody Eyes, and his 
presence inspired them with a superstitious terror. 
When organising his forces before the campaign he 
particularly requested that no officers with humani- 
tarian ideas should be sent to the front. In a letter 
to the chief of the staff of the Caucasus Military 
District he wrote as follows : 

1 Compare with this the account given by General Grodekoff 
(chap, xv.) of an incident that occurred during the siege on .January 8, 
the night of the grand sortie. * Both bodies of Turkoman troops were 
close to the Kala (i.e. fortified redoubt) when suddenly music burst 
forth from the trenches, and the Tekkes at once hastened to retire into 
the fortress. This music, it appeared, exercised a most depressing influ- 
ence upon the Turkomans, and one which they could not shake off, 
It forced the Ishans (i.e. priests) to pray, and caused universal terror ; 
for whenever the music played they imagined the Russians were 
advancing to the assault.' 


The hard necessities of war are everywhere alike, and the 
steps taken by Lomakin (in September 1879) require no 
justification. There is no doubt as to this in my own mind, 
or as to the soldier being permitted to have no opinions of 
his own in such matters, and being solely obliged to obey 
orders. I must ask you, for the good of the service, and for 
the sake of the duty entrusted to me, only to send me officers 
whose sole idea is their duty, and who do not entertain 
visionary sentiments. 1 

After Geok Tepc had fallen and the rout was 
over, he remarked : ' How unutterably bored I am, 
there is nothing left to do.' His own cruelty was not 
shared by many of his men, who, when the fight was 
over, might be seen walking about, holding the little 
fatherless Tekke children by the hand. I have nar- 
rated or revived these incidents, because, repellent 
though they be to nineteenth-century notions, and 
discreditable to the Eussian character, they do not 
stand alone in the history of Eussian Conquest in 
Central Asia, 2 but arc profoundly characteristic of 
the methods of warfare by which that race has con- 
sistently and siicccboiully set about the subjugation 
of Oriental peoples. 

SkobelefFhimself candidly expressed it as follows : Hi pr i n , 
' I hold it as a principle that in Asia the duration of warfare 
peace is in direct proportion to the slaughter you 
inflict upon the enemy. The harder you hit them 
the longer they will be quiet afterwards. My system 

1 Grodekoff, chap. xvi. 

2 Compare the massacre of the Yomud Turkomans at Kizil Takir by 
General Kaufmann after the fall of Khiva in 1873, and General Loma- 
kin' s bombardment of Tckke women and children at Denghil Tepe in 


is this : To strike hard, and keep on hitting till 
resistance is completely over ; then at once to form 
ranks, cease slaughter, and be kind and humane to 
the prostrate enemy/ A greater contrast than this 
can scarcely be imagined to the British method, 
which is to strike gingerly a series of taps, rather 
than a downright blow ; rigidly to prohibit all pillage 
or slaughter, and to abstain not less wholly from 
subsequent fraternisation. But there can be no 
doubt that the Eussiari tactics, however deficient they 
may be from the moral, are exceedingly effective 
from the practical point of view ; and that an Oriental 
people in particular, on whose memory has been 
stamped the print of some such terrible disaster, are 
disposed to recognise in the heavy hand of the con- 
queror the all-powerful will of God, and to pass at 
once from furious antagonism to peaceful and even 
friendly submission. 

character Of Skobeleff's character and nature many stories 
kff Sk His are still told. by those who were brought into contact 
with him in this campaign. 1 He was one of those 
rare spirits who, like Napoleon, exercised a magnetic 
influence over other men, and the mere sight of 
whose white uniform, flashing like the plume of 
Henry of Navarre, electrified his troops on the field 
of combat. A hundred exploits testify to his mag- 

1 The criticism of Skobeleff's character is my own, and has not 
been borrowed from any one source ; certainly not, as some of the 
Russian papers seemed to imagine in noticing my original articles, 
from Dr. Heyfelder, who never spoke to me of the general without 
affection and respect, or of the Russians generally without admira- 


nificent courage and insensibility to danger. He 
had only twice been wounded in his life, and fre- 
quently declared, ' The bullet does not exist that 
can strike me down.' On one occasion, before Geok 
Tepe, he was leisurely surveying the fortress amid a 
storm of bullets, when the staff-surgeon joined him. 
6 This is no place for you,' said Skobeleff, ' I order 
you to go.' The surgeon protested that by the 
general's side he considered himself safe. * I am 
invulnerable,' was the reply, c but if you do not go, 
well, I will immediately put you under arrest.' The 
surgeon having retired, Skobeleff then took a seat, 
and calmly sat down to continue his observations 
amid the fire of the enemy. 

In the Turkoman campaign he declined to allow His caprice 
any newspaper correspondents with his force a 
decision but for which poor O'Donovan would pro- 
bably never have had either the temptation or the 
opportunity to strike out for Merv and did not 
have a single newspaper sent after him to the front. 
As a commander, though severe upon others, he set 
a most dangerous example himself, for he knew no 
discipline, and just as he had disobeyed the com- 
mands of his superior officers in the Turkish war, 
so he neglected the orders of the Emperor in the 
Turkoman campaign. Nevertheless, a general at 
thirty, and a popular idol when he succumbed to a 
discreditable end at the early age of thirty-eight, it 
is impossible to say if he had lived what he might 
not have done or have become. 

His private character was more eccentric still a Idiosyn- 


curious jumble of nobility and meanness, of manly 
attributes, and of childish temper. At one time he 
was bold, imperious, inspired ; at another, querulous 
and morose ; now sanguine, now despondent, changing 
his mood, like a chameleon its colour, half a dozen 
times in the day. Even his friends were made the 
victims of these Protean transformations, being alter- 
nately treated with affection and contempt. The 
transition would be reflected in his countenance, 
which was now beautiful, now ugly, and in his physical 
condition, which oscillated between masculine vigour 
and nervous exhaustion. After Geok Tepe he was 
ill for some weeks, and, though always on horseback, 
yet after a long ride he would return so prostrated 
that he almost fell from his saddle, and had to retire 
to his bed for days. He was a magnificent figure 
mounted, and was proud of his horses, which were 
always white or grey, as he had a passion for that 
colour, and even forgave a personal enemy who with 
true diplomacy presented him with a fine white 
charger bought for the purpose in Moscow. But his 
horses were not safer from his incurable caprice than 
were his friends. For when on one occasion after 
the fall of Geok Tepe the grey Persian which he was 
riding into the fort refused to cross the little canal 
that flowed into the camp, he gave it away at once, 
and never mounted it again. His unscrupulousness 
is well illustrated by the episode with which he com- 
menced his public career. Then a young officer of 
hussars in Turkestan, and burning for distinction, he 
presented a report to Kaufmann, the Governor-General, 


upon the successful suppression of a horde of brigands 
on the Bokharan frontier, in which he claimed to 
have killed over forty of the bandits. The whole 
thing subsequently turned out to be a myth, there 
being no brigands at all. 1 

Two anecdotes I heard in Transcaspia which Anecdotes 

. of his 

afford not a bad illustration of his wayward and ill- whims 
balanced nature. After the fall of Geok Tepe, a 
Russian general arrived from the Grand Duke Michael, 
at that time Governor-General of the Caucasus, to in- 
spect the camp and troops, and to make a report. This 
officer, General Pavloff by name, had originally been 
appointed, after the death of General Petrusevitch, to 
replace Skobeleff, if the latter were killed ; but 
arriving at Krasnovodsk on the very day of the fell 
of Geok Tepe, he was instructed to proceed in order 
to discuss with the Commander-in-Chief the future 
settlement of the oasis. Skobelcff was very angry 
indeed, because this officer, though of inferior military 
rank to himself (he having been promoted for the 
affair of Geok Tepe), would yet take precedence of 
him on this occasion as the representative of the 
Grand Duke. Accordingly he did his best to shirk 
a meeting altogether, and was infuriated when, the 
general having fallen ill at Bahmi, he was at length 
compelled to go and meet him, and above all to go 
in a carriage, a thing which he had never before done 
in time of war. The general proposed that they 
should both retire to Krasnovodsk to discuss the 

1 Vide Autobiographical Sketches, by Vassili Verestchagin (trans- 
lated). 1887, vol. ii. p. 257. 


question of decorations, &c. Then the patience of 
Skobeleff broke down, or rather his unscrupulous 
resourcefulness came in. A telegram suddenly 
arrived with the news that 6,000 Tekkes were ad- 
vancing from Merv. It was, of course, impossible 
for him to proceed to Krasnovodsk ; he must return 
at once to the camp. Orders were given for an 
expedition to be prepared ; the medical staff was 
required to get ready ; and some regiments which 
were to leave for Russia on the next day, and had 
made all their preparations for departure, were 
countermanded at the last moment. Meanwhile the 
luckless general, who was \liefons et origo mali, had 
retired alone to the Caspian. When he was well off 
the scene of action Skobeleff's cheerfulness revived. 
* Let us wait a little,' he said ; ' possibly the telegram 
may not be true.' And sure enough another telegram 
soon followed saying that it was not 6,000 but 600 
Tekkes who were on the way, and that they were 
coming, not to attack the Eussian camp, but to seek 
their families and friends. The curious thing was, 
not that" the trick succeeded, but that every soldier 
in the force knew that it had been played by Skobe- 
leff, and admired him none the less. 

story of A f ew weeks after the storming of Geok Tepe, a 

distinguished Persian Khan, the Governor or Ilkhani 
of Kuchan, wliose full name was Shuja ud Daulat 
Amir Hussein Khan, rode into the camp with an 
escort of 300 Persians to congratulate Skobeleff on 
his victory. The latter, who was in a pet, and did 
not want to be bored with entertainment, his thoughts 


being centred in an advance upon Merv, had already 
ridden off to Lutfabad, leaving liis guest to the care 
of his staff. The eminent Persian was very much 
offended at this want of respect, and speaking at a 
banquet said that he had come to compliment the 
Eussian commander, but as the commander was not 
forthcoming he must depart. An aide-de-camp at 
once galloped off with this ultimatum to Skobeleff, 
who presently turned up much against his will, and 
organised for the Khan the mimic assault to which I 
have before alluded. In the evening a dinner was 
given in his honour. The meal, however, had hardly 
commenced when an officer arrived from St. Peters- 
burg, bringing a decoration for SkobelefT and de- 
spatches from the Emperor. Hastily deserting his 
place by the Khan, with the feigned excuse of feeling 
a draught, Skobeleff commissioned an officer of in- 
ferior rank to fill his seat, while he himself moved to 
a place lower down to chat with the new arrival 
from St. Petersburg. Presently the Khan, being 
very much insulted, rose and said c Good-night.' 
Skobeleff then made excuses for his breach of manners, 
but, remembering the draught, found himself unable 
to return to the head of the table. The story, which 
I heard from an eye-witness, is interesting only as an 
illustration of his whimsical and petulant temper. 

If we were to sum up his character and I have Final 
laid stress upon it, as that of the only really command- 
ing personality whom the history of Eussian advance 
in Central Asia has produced we might conclude 
thatj though a greatly gifted, Skobeleff was not a great 


man, being deficient in stability, in principle, and in 
faith. In many respects bis character was typical of 
the Russian nation, in its present phase of develop- 
ment, with one foot, so to speak, planted in a bar- 
barian past, while the other is advancing into a new 
world of ideas and action. To many it will seem that 
he died in a happy hour, both for his country, which 
might have suffered from his insensate levity and 
passion for war, and for himself, seeing that his 
reputation, which a premature death has now en- 
shrined in legend, might not have permanently sur- 
vived the touchstone of truth. Russian writers are 
very sensitive indeed of criticism upon one who was 
both a political idol and the darling of the army. 
But foreigners are, perhaps, better able than his own 
countrymen to ascertain the true perspective of this 
meteoric phenomenon. They may confess, what the 
ardour of a patriot might tempt him to conceal, that 
the light which it shed, though often dazzling, was 
sometimes lurid. 
Turkoman Between Geok Tepe and the capital, Askabad, a 
distance of about twenty-eight miles, the railway 
passes through a country of more extensive cultiva- 
tion and greater fertility. Tending their flocks, or 
riding on horses or asses, are to be seen numerous 
Turkomans, father and son sometimes bestriding the 
same animal. In these peaceful and unimposing 
rustics, who would divine the erewhile scourge and 
man-hunter of the desert ? Clad in his dilapidated 
cotton dressing-gown or khalat, and with a huge 
brown sheepskin bonnet, almost as big as a grenadier's 



bearskin, overshadowing his dusky features, he does 
not perhaps look like a civilised being, but still less 
would you take him for a converted Dick Turpin or 
Claude Duval. Excellent agriculturists these ancient 
moss- troopers are said to be, and now that the 
heyday of licence and war and plunder has faded 
into a dream, they settle down to a peasant's exis- 


tence with as much contentment as they formerly 
leaped to saddle for a foray on the frontiers of 

Askabad, which we next reach, has all the appear- 
ance of a large and flourishing place. Its station is 
of European proportions and appointment. Numl >ers 
of droshkies attend the arrival of the trains ; and the 
crowded platform indicates a considerable population. 



I was informed that the present figures are 10,000 ; 
but these, which I believe to be an exaggerated 
estimate, include the troops, of which there are three 
rifle battalions and a regiment of Cossacks in or near 
the town ; while two batteries of artillery are, I 
believe, stationed further south, at Annan Sagait. 
Askabad is the residence of the Governor-General and 
Commander-in-Chief (the two functions in a military 
rfyime being united in the same individual), and the 
administrative centre of Transcaspia. The present 
Governor is General Komaroff, 1 a man whose name is 
well known to Englishmen as the Eussian commander 
in the famous affair on the Kushk, on March 30, 1885, 
which we have named from the contiguous and dis- 
puted district of Penjdeh. Into the question at issue 
between him and Sir Peter Lumsdcn I do not wish to 
re-enter. I afterwards met General Komaroff, and 
enjoyed an interesting conversation with him, to which 
I shall have occasion further to allude. lie is a short, 
stout, middle-aged man, with a bald head, spectacles, 
and a square grizzled beard, and cannot be described 
as of dignified appearance. Indeed he reminded me 
of a university professor dressed up in uniform, and 
metamorphosed from a civilian into a soldier. To 
administrative energy he adds the tastes of a student 
and the enthusiasm of an antiquarian ; having, as he 

1 Alexander Komaroff was born in 1830, entered the army at the 
age of nineteen, being gazetted to the Imperial Guard, was sent to the 
Caucasus in 1855, served under General Mouravieff at Kars, was sub- 
sequently appointed Governor of Derbent and chief of the military 
administration of the native tribes of the Caucasus ; was made a 
Lieutenant- General in 1877, and Governor-General of Transcaspia in 


informed me, amassed a collection of the antiquities 
of Transcaspia, including a statuette, apparently of 
Athene, of the best Greek period, some ornaments in 
the style of the beautiful Kertch collection at St. 
Petersburg, and no less than forty specimens of coins 
not previously known. 

The Government of Transcaspia, lias, during the Govern- 

i n i T i -,. . I mentof 

last live years, reached such dimensions that rumours Tnuis- 

v caspia 

have been heard of its approaching declaration of 
independence of the Caucasus, by the Governor- 
General of which it is still controlled ; \vhilo a short 
time ago General Komaroff is said to have defeated 
a scheme to render it subordinate to the Governor- 
General of Turkestan, hitherto the greatest potentate 
of Central Asia, and to have sought from the Emperor 
the privilege of responsibility to him alone. If sub- 
ordination to the Caucasus is perpetuated, it will 
only be because of the easy and uninterrupted com- 
munication between Transcaspia and that part of the 
empire, in contrast to European Kussia, and because 
in time of war the Caucasus would be the base from 
which reinforcements and supplies would naturally be 
drawn. If, on the other hand, it is placed under 
Turkestan, it will be because of the danger of divided 
military action in a region so critical as the Afghan 
border. In any case, the increasing importance of 
.Transcaspia affords a striking illustration of a fact, to 
which I shall frequently revert, viz. the shifting from 
east to west of the centre of gravity in the Central 
Asian dominions of the Czar, with its consequent bear- 
ings, of incalculable importance, upon the relations 


of Russia and Great Britain in the East. Transcaspia, 
with an inhabited area of 13,000 square geographical 
miles, now consists of three districts and two sub- 
districts, each governed by a colonel or lieutenant- 
colonel, viz. Mangishlak with its capital Fort Alex- 
androvsk on the Caspian, Krasnovodsk, Akhal Tekke 
with its capital Askabad, Tejend, and Merv. To these 
are added the two territories, administered by com- 
missioners, of Yuletan and Sarakhs. Its population 
has been ludicrously exaggerated in all extant English 
works, and consists, according to the latest returns, of 
311,000 persons (exclusive of the Russian army and 
administration), of whom the Turkomans of Merv 
number 110,000 ; and it includes all the four prin- 
cipal oases already named, besides the Atrek region 
which was joined to Akhal Tekke in 1886, and the 
minor oases inhabited by the Sarik and Salor Turko- 
mans of Yuletan, Sarakhs, and Penjdeh. Of the en- 
tire population 83 per cent, are Turkomans, 14 per 
cent. Kirghiz (of the Mangishlak peninsula), and the 
remaining 3 per cent., or 9,000, Russians, Armenians, 
Persians, Jews, and Bokhariots. 
Resources In 1885 the wealth of Transcaspia in animals was 
computed as follows : 107,000 camels, 68,000 horses, 
22,000 asses, 47,000 horned cattle, and 1,400,000 
sheep. Of natural resources, 8,064 tons of salt were 
reported to have been extracted in the Krasnovodsk 
district, and 120,000 gallons of petroleum from the 
wells of Bala Ishem. In the same year, i.e., before 
the extension of the Transcaspian Railway, the im- 
ports were roughly estimated at 300,000/., the exports 


at 77,300/., figures which would be completely dwarfed 
by the present returns. In 1885, the following sums 
were said to have been raised in taxation : 91,000 
roubles house-tax, or rather tent-tax, levied on each 
kibitka, 15,000 roubles customs or caravan-tax, 1,200 
roubles house-tax levied in the cities. On the other 
hand, in 1887 the State and Land Taxes combined are 
said to have produced a revenue of 27,400/. from 
Transcaspia. These totals, again, supply an imperfect 
basis for more recent computations. 

Askabad itself has a printing-press, a photographic Buildings 
establishment, and European, shops and hotels. The town 
houses are for the most part of one storey, and are 
freely bedaubed with white. A small fortified enceinte 
supplies a reminder of the days, not yet ten years 
gone by, when the Eussians were strangers and sus- 
pects in tke land. In the centre of the town is an 
obelisk erected in memory of the artillerymen who 
were killed in the siege and capture of Geok Tepe, 
and at its base are planted the Afghan guns which 
were captured in the skirmish on the Kushk. The 
town is a purely Eussian settlement, though the busi- 
ness quarter has attracted a large number of Ar- 
menians, Persians, and Jews. City life is avoided by 
the Turkomans, who prefer the tented liberty of the 

Askabad is also a place of high strategical sigiii- strategical 

* , . . T7 ~, . importance 

ficance, as being the meeting-point ot the Khivan ofAskabad 

% and roads 

and Persian roads. Already the north of Persia into Persia 
and Khorasan are pretty well at Eussian mercy 
from a military point of view ; though there is 



some bravado in talking, as the Russians always do, 
of the Shah as a vassal, and of Persia as in a parallel 
plight to Bokhara or Khiva. Since the occupation of 
Transcaspia the "Russians have rendered an advance 
still more easy by constructing a military road from 
20 ft. to 24 ft. broad, and available for artillery, from 
Askabad over the Kopet Dagli to the Persian frontier, 
where at present it terminates abruptly at one of the 
frontier pillars placed by the Commission near the 
hamlet of ]Jaz Girha. The distance is thirty miles from 
Askabad. At present there is nothing better than a 
mountain track, descending upon the other side to 
Kuchan and the high road to Meshed ; a contrast which 
is due to the failure of the Persians to fulfil their part 
of the bargain, Eussia having undertaken to construct 
the first section of the chaussee to the frontier, while 
the remaining portion of forty miles to Kuchan was to 
be laid by General Gasteiger Khan for the Government 
of the Shah. To this co-operate roadway was to be 
joined a steam tramway originally projected by a 
merchant named Nikolaieff, which was to cover the 
remaining 100 miles to Meshed, and, under the guise 
of commercial transit, to provide Eussia with a pri- 
vate way of entry into Khorasan, There is reason to 
believe that, elated with its recent successes in the 
matter of a Eussian consul at Meshed, the Imperial 
Government is urgently pressing for the execution 
of this project ; and at any moment we may find that 
the centre of interest has shifted from the Afghan to 
the Persian frontier. This is a question of which I 
shall have something to say later on. In any case, 


whether a future movement upon Khorasanbe forcible 
or pacific, this road will without doubt afford the main 
and a most effective line of advance. Already it has 
been announced in the press that it is beginning to 
be used by Bokharan merchants, in connection with 
the caravan routes through Persia from the ports of 
Bender- Abbas or Bushire, for merchandise from India, 
in preference to the shorter but less safe and more 
costly routes through Afghanistan. 1 

A politic act on the part of General Annenkoff was Use of the 

the issue of a proclamation pointing out the ad van- ptlgSSs L 
tages of his railway, in connection with the Askabad- and Mecca 
Kuchan road, to pilgrims of the Shiite persuasion, 
both from Western Persia and from the provinces 
of the Caucasus, desirous of reaching the sacred city 
of Meshed advantages by which I was informed 
that they already profit in considerable numbers. 
Not that the orthodox Sunnitc is without his equal 
consolations from the line. It is, in fact, becoming a 
popular method v/f locomotion, on the first part of the 
way to Mecca, for the devout hadji of Bokhara, 
Samarkand, and the still further east. Six thousand 
such pilgrims travelled upon it in 1887 ; and it was 

1 Vide the following extract from the journal of the Russian 
Ministry of Finance (No. 19, 1889) : * Some successful attempts have 
recently been made to introduce certain goods (chiefly green tea) from 
India into Bokhara by the roundabout way of Bender-Bushire, Persia, 
Askabad, and beyond by the Transcaspian railway. This route has 
been chosen by Bokharan merchants, according to the testimony of 
the chief official of the Bokharan Customs, in consequence of the 
facilities offered by the railway for the transport of goods, and also 
because merchandise brought thereby escapes the exorbitant transit 
dues imposed by the Afghans.' 

ic 2 


estimated that the total would reach ten thousand in 
The Atek Amoiiff the stations passed after leaving Askabad 

oaaisand & * G 

are Gyaurs and Baba Dunnaz, both of which were 
familiar names during the epoch when Eussian diplo- 
macy averred and British credulity believed that the 
limit of Russian advance could be drawn somewhere 
or anywhere between Askabad and Merv. The former 
is generally recognised as the commencement of the 
Atek or mountain-base oasis, in which horticulture 
and agriculture continue to prevail, and which is pro- 
longed as far as the rich pastures of Sarakhs. The 
greater part of it was acquired by treaty with Persia 
in 1881. Artik, the next station to Baba Durmaz, is 
only a few miles from Lutfabad, a Persian town on 
the near side of the mountains, round which a loop 
was thrown, leaving it to Persia, in the delimitation 
that followed upon the treaty of that year. The oasis 
ends at Dushak, a place of considerable importance, 
inasmuch "as it is the present southernmost station of 
the line, where the rails run nearest to Afghanistan, 
and the consequent starting-point for Sarakhs and 
the frontier at Zulfikar, from which it is distant only 
130 miles. When any extension of the line in a 
southerly direction is contemplated a subject of 
which I shall have more to say it might possibly be 
from Dushak (a Persian name with the curiously apt 
signification of Two Branches) that it would start ; 
and should the idea of an Indo-Russian railway ever 
emerge from the limbo of chimeras in which it is at 
present interned, it would be from Dushak that the 


lines of junction with Chaman, Quetta, and the Bolau 
would most naturally be laid. 

Some of my friends on our return journey con- Refusal of 

_ . T i V\ t i permission 

templated making a little excursion irom Dushak over to visit 

1 c . Kelatand 

the Persian frontier to the native Khanate of Kelat-i- Meshed 
Nadiri and possibly even as far as Meshed, a distance 
over a very rough mountain road of eighty miles ; 
but on telegraphing to the Eussian authorities at 
Askabad for permission to pass the frontier and to 
return by the same route, we were peremptorily for- 
bidden, the officer who dictated the despatch subse- 
quently informing me that the frontier was not safe in 
these parts, a murder having recently been committed 
there or thereabouts, and that the consent of the Per- 
sian authorities would have had to be obtained from 
Teheran, as well as a special authorisation from St. 
Petersburg an accumulation of excuses which was 
hardly wanted to explain the refusal of the Eussians 
to allow three Englishmen to visit so tenderly 
nursed a region as the frontiers of Khorasan. Kelat, 
indeed, is understood to be the point of the Persian 
frontier where Eussian influence, and, it is alleged, 
Eussian roubles, are most assiduously at work ; and 
where the troubles and risk of future conquest are 
being anticipated by the surer methods of subsidised 

I should greatly like to have seen Kelat-i-Nadiri, Keiat-i- 
which is a most interesting place, and of which more 
will be heard in the future. Visited, or mapped, or 
described, by Sir C. MacGregor ( c Journey through 
Khorasan '), Colonel Valentine Baker (' Clouds in the 


East 5 ), O'Donovan ('The Morv Oasis'), and Captain 
A. C. Yate ('Travels with the Afghan Boundary 
Commission '), it is known to be one of the strongest 
natural fortresses in the world. An elevated valley 
of intensely fertile soil, irrigated by a perennial stream, 
is entirely surrounded and shut out from external 
communication by a lofty mountain barrier, from 800 
to 1,200 feet high, with a precipitous scarp of from 
300 to (500 feet. The cliffs are pierced by only five 
passages, which are strongly fortified and impregnable 
to attack. The entire enclosure, which O'Donovan 
very aptly compared with the Happy Valley of 
Rasselas, and which is a kingdom in miniature, is 
twenty-one miles long and from five to seven miles 
broad. Its value to Russia lies in its command of 
the head-w T aters of the streams that irrigate the Atek. 
In the spring of this year (April 1889) it was rumoured 
that Kelat had been ceded by Persia to Eussia ; but en- 
quiries very happily proved that this was not the case. 
The Te- , From Duslutk, where we finally lose sight of the 

jend oasi.i . r i i 

great mountain wall, under the shadow ot winch we 
have continued so long, the railway turns at an angle 
towards the north-oast and enters the Tejend oasis. 
Presently it crosses the river of that name, which is 
merely another title for the lower course of the Heri 
Rud, where it emerges from the mountains and 
meanders over the sandy plain (the oasis is a thing of 
the future rather than of the present) prior to losing 
itself in a marshy swamp in the Kara Kum. Among 
the rivers of this country, none present more striking 
contrasts, according to the season of the year, than the 



Tcjend. At time of high water, in April and May, it 
has a depth of forty feet, and a width, in different 
parts, of from eighty yards to a quarter of a mile. 
Later on, under the evaporation of the summer heats, 
it shrinks to a narrow streamlet, or is utterly exhausted 
by irrigation canals. The Tejend swamp is over- 
grown by a sort of cane-brake or jungle teeming with 
wild fowl and game, of every description, particularly 


wild boars. General AmienkofTs first bridge crosses 
the river at a point where it is from 80 to 100 yards 
wide. Then follow the sands again ; for wherever 
water lias not been conducted there is sand, and the 
meaning of an oasis in those parts is, as T have said, 
simply a steppe rendered amenable to culture by arti- 
ficial irrigation, there being no reason why, if a more 


abundant water supply could either be manipulated 
or procured, the whole country should not in time, if 
I may coin the word, be oasified. The sands continue 
for nearly fifty miles, till we again find ourselves in 
the midst of life and verdure, and on the early morn- 
ing of our second day after leaving the Caspian glide 
into a station bearing the historic name of Merv. 




But I have seen 

Afrasiab's cities only, Samarkand, 
Bokhara, and lone Khiva in the waste, 
And the black Toorkraun tents ; and only drunk 
The desert rivers, Moorghub and Tejend, 
KohiK, 1 and where the Kalmuks feed their sheep, 
The Northern Sir, and the great Oxus stream, 
The yellow Oxus. 

MATTHEW ARNOLD, Sohrab and Ruslant. 

Appearance of the modern Merv The Russian town History of the 
ancient Merv British travellers at Merv Russian annexation in 
1884 Fertility, resources, and population of the oasis Adminis- 
tration, taxation, and irrigation Trade returns Future develop- 
ment of the oasis Turkoman character Strategical importance of 
Merv Ferment on the Afghan frontier arising out of the revolt of 
Is-hak Khan -Movements of Is-hak and Abdurrahman Colonel 
Alikhanoff, Governor of Merv The Turkoman militia Possible 
increase of the force The Turkoman horses The Khans of Merv 
at Baku The ruined fortress of Koushid Khan Kala Old cities of 
Merv Emotions of the traveller Central Asian scenery The 
Sand-dunes again Description of the ancients Difficulties of the 
rnilway The Oxus Width and appearance of the channel 
General Annenkoff's railway bridge Its temporary character 
The Oxus flotilla. 

WHEN O'Donovan rode into Merv on March 1, 1881, Appear- 
after following on horseback much the same route men 

. . . Merv 

from the Persian frontier as we have been doing by 

1 The Kohik is the modern Zerafshan, which waters Samarkand and 


rail, he confessed to a sense of disappointment at 
finding the domes and minarets of the great city of 
his imagination dwindle into a couple of hundred 
huts, placed on the right hank of a scanty stream. 
The visitor of to-day, who, though he be, thanks to 
O'Donovan and others, better informed, yet still 
expects some halo of splendour to linger round the 
ancient Queen of the World, suffers an almost similar 
disenchantment. He sees only a nascent and as yet 
very embryonic Russian town, with some station 
buildings, two or three streets of irregular wooden 
houses, and of generally inchoate appearance, and 
that is all. No ancient city, no ruins, no signs of 
former greatness or reviving prosperity. It is true 
that on the other side of the Murghab at the season 
of the year when I saw it a slender but very muddy 
stream, flowing in a deep bed between lofty banks, 
and here crossed by a wooden pile bridge, fifty-five 
yards long he sees looming up the earthen walls of 
the unfinished fortress of Koushid Khan Kala, upon 
which the Mervi were so busily engaged during 
O'Donovan's stay in 1881. But these have to a large 
extent been pulled down or have fallen into decay ; 
and the romance is not restored to them by the dis- 
covery that they now contain several unimpeachable 
whitewashed dwellings of European structure and 
appearance, which are in fact the Eussian official 
quarters, and edifices, and comprise the residences of 
Colonel Alikhanoff, Governor of Merv, General Annen- 
koff, the colonel commanding the garrison, and others, 
as well as public gardens and a small Russian church. 



The fact is that this Merv never was nn important 
city, or even a city at all. It is merely a site, first 
occupied by (he Tekke Turkomans when under their 
famous leader Koushid Khan they swept up the valley 
of the Murghab in the year 185(5, driving the Sariks 
or previous settlers before them, and ousting them 


i'roni their city of Porsn. l\ala, the. ruins of which si ill 
stand twenty miles to the south. Not that (he Sank 
city itself had any closer connection with the Merv of 
antiquity, the Merv or Giaour 1 or Merou of which 
Arab scribes wrote so lovingly, and of which Moore 

Merv uns the Persian, Maonr thfi Tartar name. 


And fairest of all streams the Murga roves 
Among Merou's bright palaces and groves. 

The real and ancient Merv or Mervs for there 
were three successive cities are situated ten miles 
across the plain to the east, and will be mentioned 
later on. 
The It was only after the youngest of these was sacked 

Busflian -i r i i * *" i i 

town at the end ot the last century, and the irrigation 
works, upon which its life depended, were destroyed, 
that the Turkomans moved westwards and made the 
western branch of the Murghab their headquarters. 
Of a people who led so unsettled a life, and whose 
largest centre of population was not a city but a 
camp, it would be useless to expect any permanent 
relics ; and therefore it is not surprising that the 
present Merv consists only of the rickety town which 
the Russians have built, and which is inhabited mainly 
by Persians, Jews, and Armenians, and of the official 
quarter before alluded to within the mouldering walls 
of the never-completed Tekke fortress. The town 
itself, so far from increasing, is at the present moment 
diminishing in numbers. A visitor in 1886 describes 
its population as 3,000 ; but it cannot now be more 
than one-third of that total. The reason of the 
diminution is this. From the time of the annexation 
in February, 1884, and while the railway was being 
pushed forward to Amu Daria, Merv was the head- 
quarters of General Annenkoff and his staff. There 
was a sudden inflation of business, shops were run 
up, merchants came, and the brand-new Merv fancied 


that it had inherited some aroma of the ancient re- 
nown. A club-house, open, as the liussian military 
clubs always are, to both sexes, provided a centre of 
social reunion, and was the scene of weekly dancing 
and festivity. For the less select, a music-hall re- 
echoed on the banks of the Murghab the airs of 
Offenbach and the melodies of Strauss. The Turko- 
mans, attracted by the foreign influx, flocked in 
large numbers from their settlements on the oasis, 
and drove an ephemeral but thriving trade. But 
with the forward movement of the railway battalion, 
and still more with the occupation by the line of 
Bokhara and Samarkand, this fictitious importance 
died away 9 most of the shops were shut, the town 
now contains only 285 houses, numbered from one 
upwards, and except on bazaar days, which are twice 
a week, and when a dwindling crowd of natives col- 
lects in the open air on the other or right bank of 
the Murghab, very little business appears to be done. 
Whether or not the glory of Merv may revive will 
depend upon the success or failure of the schemes 
for the regeneration of the surrounding oasis,- which 
are now being undertaken. 

Of the ancient history of Merv, it will be sufficient History of 

T n T ancient 

here to say that it has been one ot even greater and Merv 
more startling vicissitudes than are common with the 
capitals of the East. Its glories and sieges and sacks 
excited the eloquence of chroniclers and the wonder- 
ment of pilgrims. Successively, a satrapy of Darius 
(under the name Margush, whence obviously the 
Greek Margus (Murghab) and Margiana) ; a city and 


colony of Alexander ; l a province of the Parthians, 
whither Orodcs transported the 10,000 Roman 
soldiers whom he took prisoners in his famous victory 
over Crassus ; the site of a Christian bishopric ; 2 an 
Arabian capital (where, at the end of the eighth 
century, Mokannah, the veiled prophet of Khorasan, 
kindled the flame of schism) ; the seat of power of a 
Seljuk dynasty, and the residence and last resting- 
place of Alp Arslan and Sultan Sanjur; a prey to 
the awful scourge of the Mongol, and an altar for the 
human hecatombs of Jengliiz Khan ; a frontier out- 
post of Persia ; a bone of armed contention between 
Bokhara and Khiva ; a Turkoman encampment ; and 
a Russian town, it has surely exhausted every revolu- 
tion of fortune's wheel, and in its last state has 
touched the expiring chord of the diapason of ro- 
mance. For English travellers and readers, its 
interest lies less in the faded tomes of the past than 
in the records of the present century, during which 
several visits to it, or attempts to visit it, have been 
made by the small but heroic? band of .British pioneers 
in Central Asia. 
British Dr. Wolff, the missionary, was twice at Merv, in 

1831 and again in 1844, upon his courageous errand 
of enquiry into the Stoddart and Conolly tragedy at 
Bokhara. Burnes halted on the Murghab, but did 

1 The city was known as Antiocheia Margiana, from Antiochus 
Soter, who rebuilt it ; and it was the capital of the Graeco- Syrian pro- 
vince of Margiana. 

2 Christianity was introduced at Merv about 200 A.D., and Jacobite 
and Nestorian congregations nourished there as late as .under Arab 


not see Merv itself, on his way from Bokhara to 
Meshed in 1832. Abbott and Shakespear were there 
in 1840 on their journey to Khiva. Thomson, in 1 843, 
was the next, and Wolff was the last English visitor 
for nearly forty years ; MacGregor and Burnaby being 
both recalled in 1875, when about to start for Merv, 
from the West and North respectively. At length, in 
1881, the curtain of mystery, torn aside by the ad- 
venturous hand of O'Donovan, revealed the Tekke 
Turkoman clans existing under a tribal form of go- 
vernment, regulated by a council and presided over 
by khans, and debating with feverish anxiety the 
impending advance of the terrible ' Ouroussi.' 

The circumstances of the later and pacific an- Russian 


nexation of Merv are well known, having been debated n 
in Parliament, discussed in Blue Books, and enshrined 
in substantial volumes. 1 There can be no doubt that 
immediately after the victory of Geok Tepe the 
thoughts of the Russians were turned in the direction 
of Merv, and Skobeleff was bitterly disappointed at 
not being allowed to push on so far. Prudence, how- 
ever, and still more the desirability of calming the 
suspicions of England, suggested a temporary delay, 2 
and the employment of more insidious means. 

1 Vide especially The Russians at the Gates of Herat. By C. 
Marvin. London, 1885. 

2 On March 25, 1881, in the debate on the evacuation of Kandahar 
in the House of Commons, Sir Charles Dilke (then Under- Secretary 
for Foreign Affairs) gave the following enigmatic assurance : ' He was 
able to make this statement, that the very first act of the new Em- 
peror, upon ascending the throne, was to recall General Skobeleff to 
St. Petersburg, and to put a stop to all operations which that general 
had been conducting in Asia.' 


Accordingly, commercial relations were opened with 
the inhabitants of the Merv oasis ; surveys of their 
country, and even of their encampment, were obtained 
by Alikhanoff, who under the guise of a merchant's 
clerk accompanied a trading caravan thither in 
February 1882, and conducted secret negotiations with 
the more propitious chieftains ; the rouble was 
plentifully distributed; l and finally, in the spring of 
1884 while British hands were full in Upper Egypt 
and no untimely interference was to be expected the 
same Alikhanoff, reappearing upon the scene, enforced, 
by significant allusions to a Eussian detachment in the 
immediate neighbourhood, his demand for a surrender 
of the tribe and their oasis to the Czar. The chiefs 
acquiesced and took the oath of allegiance. Koma- 
roff's troops advanced at full speed, before the Anti- 
Itussian party, under the lead of Kadjar Khan and 
one Siakh-Push, an Afghan fanatic who seems to have 
exercised an extraordinary influence over the Tekkes, 
could organise a serious resistance. A few shots 
were exchanged, and a certain number of Turkoman 
saddles emptied ; the fortress of Koushid Khan Kala 
w T as occupied ; the hostile leaders fled or were cap- 
tured ; a shower of stars and medals from St. Peters- 
burg rewarded the services of conquest or sweetened 
the pains of surrender ; and Merv was at last made 
part and parcel of the Russian Empire. The flame of 
diplomatic protest blazed fiercely forth in England ; 
but, after a momentary combustion, was, as usual, 

1 Vide Parliamentary Papers, ' Central Asia,' No. 2, 1885, pp. 118, 


extinguished by a flood of excuses from the inex- 
haustible reservoirs of the Neva. 

The oasis of Merv, which owes its existence to Fertility, 

. . ,.,. resources, 

the bounty of the river Murghal) and its subsidiary ana popu- 

^ ... lation of 

network of canals and streams, is said in most works 
on the subject to consist of about 1,600 square 
miles ; though at present but a small fraction of this 
extent is under systematic or scientific cultivation. 
Its natural fertility is greater by far than that of any 
of the three oases hitherto encountered. As early 
as the tenth century the Aral) traveller, Urn IFaukal, 
affirmed that * the fruits of Merv are finer than those 
of any other place, and in no other city arc to be 
seen such palaces and groves, and gardens and 
streams/ Vanished, alas! is all this ancient splen- 
dour; but still the cattle of its pastures, the fruits of its 
orchards grapes, peaches, apricots, and mulberries 
and the products of its fields wheat, cotton, 
barley, sorghum, sesame, rice, and melons, yielding 
from twenty-fold to one hundred- fold are superior 
to those of any other district between Khiva and 
Khorasan. 1 Linked to it in a chain of fertilised tracts 
towards the south and south-west are the minor 
oases of Yuletan, Sarakhs, and Teujdeh, inhabited by 
the Sarik and Salor Turkomans, living in scattered 
encampments or aouls. whose joint numbers are 
about 60,000 souls, as compared with the 110,000 
Tekke Turkomans of Merv. Of the extraneous 

1 The rainfall at Merv is fifty days in the year. The mean annual 
temperature is 18 (Reaumur) ; that of the hottest month is #4, and 
of the coldest month 4. 



population, 3,500 are Persians and Tartars, nearly the 
same number Armenians, over 2,000 Eussians and 
Poles, 1,000 Khivans arid Bokhariots, 300 Jews, 
and a residuum of Caucasians, Greeks, Germans, 
Hungarians, Afghans, and Kirghiz. These figures, 
derived from the latest available returns, are greatly 
inferior to the estimates published in all extant 
English works, which have ludicrously over-estimated 
the totals. The wealth of the oasis, other than in 
the products of agriculture, sericulture, and horti- 
culture, is expressed in flocks of sheep and goats, of 
which there are 700,000 head, horses 20,500, asses 
21,500, cattle 44,000, and camels 16,500. Its 
principal manufacture is that of the now renowned 
Turkoman carpets, of close velvety texture and 
uniform pattern, made by the women, and exported 
to Europe at the present rate of 4,000 a year, with a 
value of 32,000/. I take the following extract 
verbatim from one of the letters of the St. Petersburg 
correspondent of the < Times,' to whom also I am in- 
debted for the above figures : 

Adminis- There are forty volosts, or sub-districts, in the Merv circuit, 

taxSn, wit' 1 four to nine aouh in each. Each volott elects an elder, 
andimga. ft nd each HOW/ an flArwiAvrf. These all report to their khans, 
or jrritttavs, who, in their turn, report to vhe chief of the 
territory, Alikhanoff. The ahzalml and three elders form a 
court for the trial of small offences entailing up to five 
roubles' fine, or three days' arrest. The khan has the right of 
sentencing to twenty-five roubles' fine and seven days' arrest. 
Delegates from each tribe, under the presidency of the 
pristtu'y with the assistance of a Avr#/, or religious member, 
may inflict a fin * of fifteen roubles, and a punishment of four 


months' imprisonment. Other and more important cases are 
decided by Colonel Alikhanoff, with representatives from all 
the sections. The taxes paid amount to five roubles per 
Jcibitka namely, four roubles forty kopecks for the Exchequer, 
and half a rouble for local needs, or the zemstvo. In return, 
all caravans entering or passing through Merv pay one-fortieth 
of their goods. This was established in 1886, because the 
Bokhariots and Khivans made the Russian caravans pay. In 
1886 this duty produced 30,293 roubles 69 kopecks. The 
crops for the same year were ; Sown. Wheat, 450,000 
pouds ; l barley, 150,000 pouds ; rice, 60,000 pouds. Reaped. 
Wheat, 29.700,000 pouds; barley, 4,398,000 pouds; 
rice, 2,400,000 pouds. The cotton grown by the Turkomans 
is very small, and only for their own use. About eighteen 
miles above Merv the Koushid Khan Bend, or dam on the 
Murghab, sends an equal flow of water into the two halves 
of the oasis by means of two principal canals, the Otamish 
and the Toktamish. These in their turn supply the many 
smaller canals of the tribes. This water arrangement is 
looked after by an official called the mimb, elected annually. 
Each district is subdivided into Itelemes, and each Jceleme 
consists of twelve proprietors. Two kel ernes make an abtlt/Jc, 
or sarlmr, and enjoy water for twenty-four hours in turn. 
Yule tan is watered in the same way from the Murghab dam, 
Kasili Bend. Penjdeh is the worst irrigated district of all, 
as the Sariks have destroyed many of the canals. 

The import and export trade through Merv and the Trade 
overturn altogether are estimated at five millions of roubles. re u 
The figures in 1886 were : 

Import from Bokhara . . . 585,144 roubles 
Khiva .... G2,568 
Dereguez . . . 60,172 

Meshed. . . . 871,690 
Afghan Turkoinania . 58,879 

Tashkent and Askabad . 740,050 

Total . . . 1,878,503 

1 The poud - 30 English Ibs. 

i 2 


Export into Bokhara and Khiva . 328,032 roubles 
Persia .... 280,000 
Total . . . 608^532 

Russian articles sold in the shops at Merv carno to about 
719,705 roubles. Bokharan goods now enter free of duty by 
special favour, so that there is no means of judging their 
value. There are also no regular statistics of goods entering 
by railway. Altogether the overturn is r rkoned at five 
millions, which is putting it at its very highest figure. 

Future de- In speaking, however, of the resources of the 

yelopment T r xi ^ i i ^-11 

siB Merv oasis, 1 am reierring to that which is still in 
a backward condition, and is capable of immense 
development. The soil is well adapted to the growth 
of cotton, though little is at present produced, the 
Turkomans apparently not having taken very kindly 
to the industry, though after the llussiaii occupation 
several tons of American cotton-seed were distributed 
gratis among the inhabitants. 1 Here, however, as 
well as along the equally suitable banks of the Oxus, 
improvement may be expected. The growth of 
timber, so necessary in these parched regions, has 
also been taken in hand. General Komaroff told me 
that the planting of the oasis had been commenced in 
real earnest, and that in time there would be growing 
there not less than sixty million of trees. Three million 
young saplings were already to be seen ai the height 
of several feet from the ground at Bairam Ali, ten 
miles to the east. At the same time the work of 

1 The failure of the first attempts is attributed to the fact that the 
imported seed came from plantations lying near the sea coast. Since 
it has been brought from the interior the experiment has proved more 


scientific irrigation, hitherto neglected, has been 
begun the repair of the great Sultan Bend Dam, 
fifty-three miles further up the course of the Mur- 
ghab, by which alone its distribution over the lower 
surfaces can be properly regulated, having been com- 
mitted to a young Polish engineer named Poklcfski, 
and the entire district having been made over to the 
private purse of the Czar a guarantee that its 
development will not be allowed to slacken, or its 
revenues to result in loss to the exchequer of so 
economical a monarch. 1 When the new system of 

1 The following interesting description of the Sultan Bend works 
in 1888 is translated from the Comto do Cholet's book, Excursion en 
Turkestan, pp. 202 3 : ' An embankment of concrete 58 feet high, acting 
as a (lain, will completely bar the course of the river from bank to 
bank. Its waters, thus driven back, will form an immense lake 375 
acres in extent, out of which four sluices will bo constructed, at a 
height exactly calculated beforehand, so as to allow of the water being 
distributed into big canals, carrying it into the interior of the country. 
Special dredging machines, invented by M. Poklcfski, will be employed 
to stir up the waters of the lake, and to prevent the alluvium from 
settling ; and as the velocity of the stream, the moment the sluices are 
opened, will be greater than that of the original current, only an insig- 
nificant portion will sink to the bottom of the canals. The latter, which 
are also to be intersected with sluices, and are carried forward with a 
regulated fall, will be subdivided into smaller canals, gradually dimin- 
ishing in size, and spreading fertility and riches among the Turkomans 
far beyond Merv. Even in flood-time, the top of the dam boing much 
above the normal level of the river, only an insignificant quantity of 
water will pass over. The lake alone will be considerably swollen, but 
without serious consequences, since its waters will be confined between 
the hills that border the Murghab both on the right and left, at a dis- 
tance of several versts, and converge exactly at this spot, leaving only 
a narrow passage between, which will be barred by the dam. The 
small amount of water that may succeed in escaping over the embank- 
ment will fall into the old bed of the river, and be hemmed in between 
its banks ; so that it will not be able to repeat the serious damage to 
the country that was caused by the floods of two years ago (1886), 
which all but swept away the new town of Merv, and destroyed at its 
outset the excellent handiwork of Alikhanoff. Small dams, made only 


canalisation is in working order, it is anticipated that 
it will subdue to cultivation a territory of some 
200,000 acres, upon which it, is proposed to plant 
Russian peasants as colonists in equal number with 
the Turkomans. If we add to this that Merv is the 
very central point of the trade routes from Bokhara 
and the Oxus to Eastern Persia, and from Central 
Asia to India through Afghanistan, we can believe 
that there yet may rise on the banks of the Murghab 
a city worthy of the site and of the name. 
Turkoman When Alikhaiioff, in the disguise of a clerk, visited 

character t t 

Merv in 1882, his report to the Russian Government 
contained the following not too flattering account of 
his future subjects: 'Besides being cruel, the Merv 
Tekkes never keep a promise or an oath if it suits 
their purpose to break it. In addition to this they 
are liars and gluttons. They are frightfully envious ; 
and finally, among all the Turkomans there is not a 
people so unattractive in every moral respect as the 
Tekkes of Merv/ l We may conjecture that this 

of fascines and sacks of earth, because they will only have to resist a 
slight pressure, will stop up the old canals which are no longer to be 
used ; whilst all the other constructions, whether dams or sluices, wiU 
be made of concrete, manufactured and cemented on the spot. Two 
years hence (i.e. 1800) the whole of this work, in the competent hands 
of M . Poklefski, will be completed. Every aoul, every hamlet, every 
single proprietor will know exactly the period of the year at which to 
irrigate his fields. The surface of arable land will be multiplied almost 
tenfold. The whole country will be covered with marvellous crops ; 
and the market of Merv will be able to send to Russia and the Caucasus 
an immense quantity of first-rate cotton, which has cost nothing to 
produce, and, being subject to no duty, can be sold at prices of extra- 
ordinary cheapness.' The estimated cost of the new dam was 24,000?. 
1 The general reputation of the Turkoman as a savage and a bandit 
may be illustrated by Turkoman proverbs : 


is a verdict which he would not now endorse with- 
out qualification ; and though the broad features of 
the national character may remain stereotyped- 
though Turkoman morals are indubitably coarse, and 
their standards of honesty low, yet later travellers 
who have resided in their midst, or have had occasion 
to employ their services, have testified to the posses- 
sion of good qualities on their part, such as amiability, 
frankness, hospitality, and a rough code of honour. 
M Bonvalot, the French traveller, who was at Merv 
in 1886, wrote a letter to the Journal ties Debate, in 
which lie said, c The liussians are of opinion, and I 
agree with them, that the Tekkes are worthy people, 
very affable and mild, and with a frankness that is 
both astonishing and delightful after the rascality of 
the Persians and the platitudes of the Bokliariots. 9 
Their behaviour is largely dependent upon the hand- 
ling of the Russians, which has so far been eminently 
successful. As the same authority very truly re- 
marked in his latest work, 1 ' So long as they can get 

* The Turkoman neither needs the shade of a tree nor the protection 
of man/ 

* When the sword has heen drawn, who needs another excuse ? ' 

4 The Turkoman on horseback knows neither father nor mother.' 

' Where there is a city there are no wolves ; where there are Turko- 
mans there is no peace.' 

The prodigious prestige enjoyed by the Turkoman brigands is amus- 
ingly illustrated by the story told by Grodekoft' (chap, i.) of a Persian 
who enjoyed a great reputation for bravery, and was attacked in the 
night by a Tekke. The Persian, being the stronger of the two, soon 
threw his assailant to the ground ; but just as he was taking out his 
knife to cut the latter's throat, the Tekke called out : * What are you 
doing ? Do you not see that I am a Tekke ? ' The Persian at once 
lost his presence of mind and dropped the knife, which was seixed by 
the Tekke and plunged into his opponent's heart. 

1 Through tfo Heart of Asia to India. By G. Bonvalot. 

J20 /,V,s,s'/J IX CKXTHAL AM A 

wafer, toleration, speedy, stern, and equitable justice, 
and have I heir taxes levied fairly, the people of Central 
Asia do not as a rule ask for anything more/ 
Kiniiinii The overwhelming strategical importance of Merv 

iiu|.iirt..iirf m * ' 

..iM.iv in relation to India is a dielnin which 1 have never 


been able to iiiulcM-stand. T have seen it argued with 
irreproaehable lojric, in niajjfaxiiu; articles, that Merv 
is the key to Herat, Herat the key to Kandahar, and 
Kandahar the kev to India. But the most scientific 


demonstrations of a priori reasoning must after all 
yield place to experience and to fact. Russia holds 
Merv ; and she could to-morrow, if she chose to bring 
about a war with England, seize Herat ; not, however, 
because she holds Merv, but because she holds the 
for more advanced and important positions of Sarakhs 
and Penjdeh. 1 But even if she held Herat she would 
not therefore imperil Kandahar, while even if she 
held both Herat and Kandahar, she would not be 
much nearer the conquest of India. A great deal of 
nonsense has been talked in England about these so- 
called keys to India, and Lord Beaconsiield never 
said a truer thing, though at the time it was laughed 
at as a sounding platitude, than when he declared 
that the keys of India are to be found in London, and 
consist in the spirit and determination of the British 
people. The political benefits to Eussia resulting 
from the annexation of Merv were very considerable, 
and ought not to be underrated. They were three- 
fold, having an easterly, a westerly, and a local 
application, It set the seal upon the absorption of 
the Khanates, by establishing Eussia upon the left 

1 Vide the prophetic opinion of Sir C. MacGregor on the strategical 
importance of Sarakhs expressed in 1875 (Life and Opinions, vol. ii. 
p. 15) : * Placed at the junction of roads of Herat and Meshed by tho 
Heri-Rud and Ab-i-Meshed valleys respectively, and at the best en- 
trance to the province of Khorasan from the north, it cannot fail to 
exercise a very serious influence on the momentous issue of the Russo- 
Tndian Question. This must happen, whether it falls into the hands of 
the friends of England or int > those of her foes. Whether Russia uses 
Sarakhs as a base for offensive measures against Herat, or England as 
a defensive outpost to defeat any such operations, that position will be 
heard of again. And if my feeble voice can effect a warning ere it is 
too late, let it be here raised in thege words : *' If England -docs not 
use Sarakhs for defence, Russia will use it for offence ! " ' 


as well as upon the right of Bokhara, and leaving 
that country very much in the position of metal be- 
tween the hammer and the anvil, to be moulded or 
flattened at will. Tt completed the flank circum- 
vention of Khorasan, by the erection of a powerful 
military post on its eastern or Afghan quarter. And 
finally it rounded off the conquest, and centralised 
the administration of the Turkoman oases and deserts, 
the bulk of which passed straightway, and the residue 
of which will ultimately pass, beneath Russian rule. 
Nor is the immediate value of Merv to Eussia by any 
means to be despised, both because of its trading 
position, and because, being the centre of a large 
oasis, it cguld sustain a numerous army at a distance 
from its base through one or more winters. These 
are advantages on her side which it would be foolish 
to ignore, but which it is still more foolish to magnify 
into a real peril to our Indian possessions. 
Ferment When we reached Merv I had hoped to find 

on the . 

Afghan Colonel Alikliaiioff, the celebrated governor of the 


arising out district, to whom I had a letter of introduction. But 

of the re- ' 

was a ksent, an( l ^ ie m ost mysterious and conflict- 
Khan j n g rum ours prevailed as to his whereabouts. I 
ascertained afterwards, however, that he had left 
suddenly for the frontier with a Eussian battalion 
and a squadron of the Turkoman cavalry; and the 
fact that a Cossack officer, travelling in our company 
to rejoin his regiment at Merv, was abruptly ordered 
to follow in the same direction showed that something 
was on the tapis in that quarter. I mentioned in 
my first chapter that the revolt of Is-hak Khan in 


Afghanistan had been alleged in St. Petersburg as a 
reasonable excuse for the prohibition of our journey 
to Transcaspia ; and I had been much interested at 
reading in the Russian journals, which are, as is well 
known, subject to official supervision, the most 
exaggerated and fantastic estimates of the Afghan 
Pretender's chances of success. These reports were 
so absurdly biassed as to leave no doubt, not merely 
that Is-hak Khun had the clandestine sympathy of 
the Russian Government, but that he was publicly 
regarded as the Russian candidate to the Afghan 
throne. Upon arriving at Merv we heard a rumour 
that Abdurrahman was dead, and that Is-hak, who 
had been uniformly successful, was marching upon 
Kabul. This single item of false information will 
give some idea of the inferiority under which Russia 
seems to labour as compared with ourselves in point 
of news from Afghanistan. Her intelligence cornes 
in the main via Balkh and the Oxus to Bokhara, and 
appears to be as unreliable as is the news from Bok- 
hara commonly transmitted to the British Govern- 
ment through Stamboul. However, this news, false 
though it was, had been enough to throw the Russian 
military authorities into a ferment ; and what I after- 
wards heard at Tashkent made it clear that there was 
a considerable massing of Russian troops upon the 
Afghan frontier, and that a forward movement must 
even have been contemplated. I asked a Russian 
diplomatist what excuse his country could possibly 
have for interfering in Afghanistan at this juncture, 
even if Is-hak Khan were successful ; and he wisely 


professed an ignorance on the subject equal to my 
own. But the fact remains that the troops were so 
moved, and that at Kerki, the Russian frontier station 
on the Amu Daria, there was collected at this time a 
body of men, enormously in excess of garrison require- 
ments, and therefore of threatening dimensions. In 
Tashkent I was informed by an officer that the talk 
was all of an invasion of Afghanistan and of war ; and 
though I do not desire to attach any importance to 
the military gossip of a place where bellicose ideas 
have always prevailed, and where there is no lack of 
spirits who care little about morality, but a great 
deal about medals, still I must place on record the 
fact that, in a time of absolute peace and with no 
possible provocation, the Russians considered them- 
selves sufficiently interested in the internal status of 
Afghanistan, a country which they have a score of 
times declared to be outside the sphere of their legiti- 
mate political interference, to make a menacing dis- 
play of military force upon her frontier. 

Move- There was not at that time the provocation which 

is-hak and the Amir Abdurrahman is since alleged to have given 
rahman by the ferment arising out of his vindictive punish- 
ment of the rebels and suspects in Afghan Turkestan, 
and which was followed in February of this year by 
much larger Russian concentration on the boundary. 
In neither case was any legitimate excuse likely to 
be forthcoming for advance. For in the former in- 
stance the success of Is-hak Khan would not have 
justified a violation of the frontier by Russia, any. 
more than his defeat was likely to lead to its violation 


by Afghanistan ; whilst in the latter, the proceedings 
of Abdurrahman, though perhaps well calculated to 
cause a great local stir, admitted of no aggressive 
interpretation as regards either Russia or Bokhara, 
into whose territories so calculating a ruler was not 
in the least likely to rush to his own perdition. The 
Russian movements on both occasions, if they illus- 
trate nothing more, are at least noteworthy as testify- 
ing to the anxiety with which they regard the Oxus 
frontier, and to the watchful, if not covetous, eye 
which they direct upon Afghan Turkestan. Though 
the war-cloud has for the present happily rolled by 
in that quarter, we must not be surprised if before 
long its horrid shadow reappears. When I afterwards 
heard at Tashkent of the collapse of Is-hak, the 
rumour prevailed that he had fled to Bokhara, and 
from there had been removed to his old quarters at 
Samarkand. This last report was denied by the 
Russian officials, who repudiated any desire to 
countenance the pretender by allowing him an asylum 
on Russian soil. A significant commentary on their 
denial was afforded by his subsequent retreat at their 
invitation to that very spot, where he now resides 
surrounded by a considerable retinue, a tool in the 
hands of his hosts, and whom we may expect at any 
moment to see re-emerge as a thorn in our side, in 
the event either of disaster or of death to Abdurrah- 
man Khan. 

I subsequently met Colonel Alikhanoff and was colonel 

1 i i />< ITT- /* n i n Alikhanofl 

introduced to him by General Komaroff. Speaking of Governor 

J I G fMerv 

the aptitude which Russia has so often displayed for 


employing in her own armies those whom she has 
already vanquished as opponents, the general told me 
that AlikhanofTs father, who was now a general, had 
himself fought against Eussia in the Caucasian wars. 
This provoked the obvious rejoinder, that the way 
to become a Russian general was clearly to begin 
by having been a Russian foe. Of the personality of 
Alikhanoff himself I believe that a somewhat mistaken 
impression exists in England. Those who are ac- 
quainted with the part that he played in the diplo- 
matic subjugation of Merv between the years 1882 
and 1884, to which I have already alluded, or who 
have read of his great influence in the Turkoman oasis, 
and of his Mussulman religion, are apt to picture to 
themselves a man of Oriental habits and appearance. 
A greater mistake could not be made. Alikhanoff is 
a tall man, with ruddy complexion, light hair, and a 
prodigious auburn, almost reddish, beard. A Lesghian 
of Daghestan by birth, whose real name is Ali Khan 
Avarski, he has all the appearance of having hailed 
from the banks of the Tay or the Clyde. He has been 
in the Eussian army from early years, and served 
under Skobeleff in the Khivan campaign. Already a 
major, he was degraded to the ranks in 1875 because 
of a duel with a brother officer, and sorved as a private 
in the Russo-Turkish war. When the Turkoman ex- 
peditions began in 1879, he went to Asia, reached the 
highest non-commissioned officer's rank in the same 
year, and returned at the close of Skobeleff s campaign 
in 1881. Promoted a captain after his reconnaissance 
of the Merv oasis in 1882, and a major after the annexa- 


tion of Merv in 1884, lie is now a full colonel in the 
Eussian army, Kachalnik or Governor of the Merv 
oasis, Warden of the Marches along the Afghan bor- 
der, and judge of appeal among the Turkoman tribes, 
and at the early age of forty, though reported to be 
a dissatisfied man, finds himself the most talked-of 
personage in Central Asia. His religion, no doubt, 
stands him in great stead. 13ut I do not know what 
other special advantages he possesses beyond his own 
ability and courage. 

As the central point between Turkestan and TheTurko- 

L man militia 

Transcaspia and as commanding the Eusso-Afghau 
frontier, Merv is an important garrison town. Ac- 
cording to the latest information, there are stationed 
here two battalions of the line, a regiment of Cos- 
sacks, a battery of artillery, and a company of sappers. 
Here too are always to be found some of the Turko- 
man militia, whom Eussia, abandoning her old policy 
of non-employment of Asiatic troops, has latterly begun 
to enlist. There are at the present moment three 
sotnias, or companies, of Turkoman horse, with 100 
men in each, which were constituted by a formal 
authorisation from the Minister of War in February 
1885. To this number were added a few Caucasians 
who had already served in the Eussian militia on the 
other side of the Caspian, and several Eussian officers. 
The Turkomans already enrolled are picked men, 
there being great competition to join the force, and 
the list of candidates is overstocked with names. The 
more dangerous and turbulent characters were at first 
selected, in order to provide them with a legitimate 


outlet for spirits trained in the love of horseflesh and 
adventure, but condemned to distasteful idleness since 
the abolition of the alarnan or border-raid. In the 
ranks and among the officers are several men who 
fought against Skoheleff at Geok Tepe. They learned; 
European drill arid discipline very quickly, the move-, 
ments being first explained to them in Turki, while the; 
commands were subsequently, and are still, given in 
Russian. Their uniform is the national khalat, or 
striped pink and black dressing-gown, with sheep- 
skin bonnet,- a broad sash round the waist, and big 
Eussian top-boots. They are armed with the Berdan 
rifle and a cavalry sabre. The pay of the men 
is 25 roubles (21. 10s.) a month, and of the officers 
from 50 to 100 roubles (5t to KM.) ; but out of this 
sum they are required to provide their own horse, 
kit, and keep, the Government supplying them only 
with rifle and ammunition. Already they have shown 
of what stuff they are made in the affray upon the 
Kuslik in 1885, when they charged down with ex- 
treme delight upon their hereditary foes, the Afghans, 
and did creditable execution. I subsequently saw 
a small detachment of these troops, who had been 
brought over by Alikhanoff to Baku, to greet the 
Emperor, and was struck with their workmanlike 

Possible . Although the force is at present limited to 300, 1 
the force men, it may be regarded as being reinforced by a> 
powerful immobilised reserve. Nearly every Turko- 
man who can afford it keeps a horse, and, unable to 
play the freebooter, is quite ready to turn free lance 


at a moment's notice. General Komaroff assured me 
that the total under arms could without difficulty 
be increased to 8,000, and I afterwards read in the 
4 Times ' that Colonel Alikhanoff told the correspondent 
of that paper that in twenty-four hours he could 
raise 6,000 mounted men a statement which tallies 
with that of the general. If there is some exaggera- 
tion in these estimates, at least there was no want of 
explicitness in the famous threat of Skobeleff, who in 
his memorandum on the invasion of India, drawn up 
in 1877, wrote : * It w r ill be in the end our duty to 
organise masses of Asiatic cavalry and to hurl them 
into India as a vanguard, under the banner of blood 
and rapine, thereby reviving the times of Tamerlane.' 
Even if this sanguinary forecast be forgotten, or if it 
remain unrealised, there is yet sound policy in this 
utilisation of the Turkoman manhood, inasmuch as it 
may operate as an antidote to the deteriorating in- 
fluence of European civilisation, which, entering this 
unsophisticated region in its own peculiar guise, and 
bringing brandy and vodka in its train, is already 
beginning to enfeeble the virile type of these former 
slave-hunters of the desert. 

When General Grodekoff rode from Samarkand 
to Herat in 1878, he recorded his judgment of the 
value of the Turkoman horses in these w r ords : 6 If 
ever we conquer Merv, besides imposing a money 
contribution, we ought to take from the Tekkes all 
their best stallions and mares. They would then at 
once cease to be formidable.' For the policy of con- 
fiscation has wisely been substituted that of utilising 




the equine resources of the oasis. None tlie less it is 
open to question whether the power and endurance 
of the Turkoman horses, reputed though they are to 
bo able to accomplish from 70 to JOO miles a day for 
a week at. a time, have not been greatly exaggerated. 
Travellers have related astonishing stories second- 
hand of their achievements ; but those who have had 
actual experience are content with a more modest 


tale. Certainly the long neck, large head, narrow 
chest, and weedy legs of the Turkoman horse do not 
correspond with European taste in horseflesh. But the 
English members of the Afghan Boundary Commission 
thought sfill less of them in use. A few only were 
bought at prices of from 20/. to 25/. And Colonel 
IJidgeway, who was authorised by the Indian Govern- 
ment to expend oOO/. upon first-class Turkoman 


stallions for breeding purposes, did not draw one 
penny upon his credit. 1 

It was with perfect justice that General Komaioff 
boasted of the facility with which Russia succeeds in Baku 
enlisting, not only the services, but the loyalty of her 
former opponents. The volunteer enrolment of the 
Turkoman horse would be a sufficient proof of this, 
had it not already been paralleled in India and else- 
where. But I can give a more striking illustration 
still. On my return to Baku, I saw drawn up on the 
landing-stage to greet the Governor-General a number 
of gorgeously-clad Turkomans, robed in magnificent 
velvet or embroidered khalats, and their breasts 
ablaze with decorations. They, too, had come over 
to be presented to the Czar. At the head of the line 
stood a dignified-looking Turkoman, with an immense 
pair of silver epaulettes on his shoulders. This, the 
general told me, was Makdum Kuli Khan, son of the 
famous Tekke chieftain Nur Verdi Khan by an Akhal 
wife, the hereditary leader of the Vekhil or Eastern 
division of the Merv Tekkes, and the chief of the 
Akhal Tekkes in Geok Tepe at the time of the siege. 
Reconciled to Russia at an early date, he was taken 
to Moscow to attend the coronation of the Czar in 
1883, and is now a full colonel and Governor of the 
Tejend oasis where but lately, in the exercise of his 

1 Vide Travels with the Afghan Boundary Commission. By 
Lieut. A. C. Yate. P. 457. 1887. Cf. also the remarks of Sir Peter 
Lnmsden. Proceedings of the Royal Geographical Society. Septem- 
ber 1885. It is only fair to state that Sir C. MacGregor formed an 
opposite opinion when in Khorasan in 1875. Life and C pinions, vol. 
ii. p. 10. 

K 2 


administrative powers, he, a Turkoman and an old 
Kussian enemy, arrested a Russian captain serving 
under his command. And yet this was the man who, 
in 1881, told Edmund O'Ronovan that ' it was the in- 
tention of himself and his staunch followers to fight 
to the last should Merv be invaded by the Russians, 
and if beaten to retire into Afghanistan. If not well 
received there, they purposed asking an asylum 
within the frontiers of British India/ Adjoining him 
stood his younger brother, Yussuf Khan, son of Nur 
Verdi by his famous Merv wife, Gur Jemal, a boy of 
fifteen or sixteen at the time of O'Donovan's visit, 
but now a Russian captain ; Maili Khan and Sari 
Batir Khan, chiefs of the Sichmaz and Bakshi, two 
others of the four tribes of Merv ; old Murad Bey, 
leader of the Beg subdivision of the Toktamish clan, 
who conducted O'Donovan to the final meeting of the 
Great Council ; and, mirabile dictu, Baba Khan him- 
self, son of the old conqueror Koushid Khan, and 
hereditary leader of the Toktamish, the one-eyed 
Baba, who led the English party at Merv in 1881, 
and, in order to demonstrate his allegiance to the 
Queen, branded his horses with V.R. reversed and 
imprinted upside down. The three last-named are 
now majors in the Russian service. Baba's colleague 
of the Triumvirate of 1881, Niaz Khan, is also a 
Russian officer, but did not appear to be present. 
The old Ikhtyar at the date of O'Donovan's arrival, 
Kadjar Khan, who led the forlorn anti-Russian move- 
ment in 1884, is detained in St. Petersburg. Gur 
Jemal, the elderly matron and former chieftainess, of 


whom I have spoken, and whose potent influence was 
so diplomatically enlisted by Russia prior to the 
annexation of Merv, was also in Baku, waiting to re- 
ceive the compliments, to which she was unquestion- 
ably entitled, from the lips of the Emperor. There 
were also present the Khans of the Sarik and Salor 
Turkomans of Yuletan, Sarakhs, and Penjdeh, and some 
imposing Kirghiz notabilities with gorgeous accoutre- 
ments and prodigiously high steeple-crowned hats. 
The delegation brought with them rich carpets and a 
collection of wild animals as presents to the Emperor, 
who in return loaded them with European gifts and 
arms, and said in the course of his speech that he 
hoped to repay their visit at Merv in 1889 or 1890. 

I do not think that any sight could have im- 
pressed me more profoundly witli the completeness of 
Russia's conquest, or with her remarkable talents of 
fraternisation with the conquered, than the spectacle 
of these men (and among their thirty odd compa- 
nions who were assembled with them, there were 
doubtless other cases as remarkable), only eight 
years ago the bitter and determined enemies of Russia 
on the battlefield, but now wearing her uniform, 
standing high in her service, and crossing to Europe 
in order to salute as their sovereign the Great White 
Czar. Skobeleff 's policy of 4 Hands all round,' when 
the fight is over, seems to have been not one whit 
less successful than was the ferocious severity of the 
preliminary blow. 

If other evidence were needed of Russia's triumph, 
it might be found in the walls of the great earthen 


7,V r ,s',S7,l /.V CKXTHM. ASIA 

TIM- ruinr,i 

furlruHH of 

forl ivss of Koiisliid Klian Kala, through which the 


locomotive, steams immediately after leaving the 

Khun Kula * & 

station at Merv. Erected in 1881 by forced labour, 
8,000 Tekkes being daily oii^rif/od upon the enter- 
j)i'ise, its unlinisliod and disiuaulled ramparts are not 
less eloquent in their testimony than was the shattered 
emlKinknient of Oeok Tope. Sixty feet at their base, 
and Iwenly feet at the summit, and from thirty to 

^^'^VVf^/, ^Y ' J >%^^ 

-'" jl " " ^ ' ' ; ^iV:iK'0^%iVX^j*^ 


forty iVet high, and originally enclosing a space one 
and three-quarters of a mile long by three-quarters of 
:i milu broad, these huge clay structures, which were 
intended finally and utterly to repel the Muscovite 
advance, have never either sheltered besieged or with- 
stood besiegers. Like a great railway embankment 
they overtop (he plain, and in their premature decay 
are imposing monuments of a bloodless victory. 

The military and political questions arising out of 



the mention of Merv have almost tempted me to for- oia cities 

of Merv 

get my undertaking to make some allusion to the old 
cities that at different times have borne the name. 
When the train, however, after traversing the oasis 
for ten miles from the modern town, pulls up at the 
station of Bairam Ali, in the midst of an absolute 
wilderness of crumbling brick and clay, the spectacle 
of walls, towers, ramparts, and domes, stretching in 


bewildering confusion to the horizon, reminds us that 
we are in the centre of bygone greatness. Here, 
within a short distance of each other, and covering 
an area of several square miles, in which there is 
scarcely a yard without some remains of the past, or 
with a single perfect relic, are to be seen the ruins of 
at least three cities that have been born, and flourished, 
and have died. The eldest and easternmost of these 
is the city now called Giaour Kala, and variously 


attributed by the natives, according to the quality of 
their erudition, to Zoroaster, or to Iskander, the local 
name for Alexander the Great. In these parts any- 
thing old, and misty, and uncertain is set down with 
unfaltering confidence to the Macedonian conqueror. 1 
I was told by a long resident in the country that the 
general knowledge of past history is limited to three 
names Alexander, Tamerlane, and Kaufinann; the 
Russian Governor-General, as the most recent, being 
popularly regarded as the biggest personage of the 
three. Giaour Kala, if it be the city of Alexander, is 
the fort said to have been built by him in B.C. 328, on 
his return from the campaign in Sogdiana. 2 It was 
destroyed by the Arabs 1,200 years ago. In its 
present state it consists of a great rectangular walled 
enclosure with the ruins of a citadel in its north-east 
corner. Next in age and size comes the city of the 
Seljuks, of Alp Arslan, the Great Lion, and of Sultan 
Sanjur, so celebrated in chronicles and legends, who 
in the twelfth century ruled as lieutenant of the 
Klialif in the almost independent kingdom of Kho- 
rasan. Pillaged and destroyed with true Mongol 
ferocity by the son of Jenghiz Khan about 1220, it 
now consists of a heap of shapeless ruins, above which 
loom the still intact dome and crumbling walls of the 

1 The ubiquity and vitality of the Alexandrine legend is well illus- 
trated by the story, told by the Hussion traveller Paohino, of an Afghan 
whom he met in a train in India in 1875, and who, in reply to the 
information that the reigning emperor of Russia was Alexander, or 
Iskander, by name, exclaimed : * Dear me ! was it not he who con- 
quered India, and of whom a great deal is said in the Scriptures ? ' 

8 This visit of Alexander rests, however, on insufficient authority, 
and cannot be accepted as historical. 



tomb of the great Sultan himself. The sepulchre of 
Alp Arslan with its famous inscription ' All ye who 
have seen the glory of Alp Arslan exalted to the 
heavens, come hither to Merv, and behold it buried in 
the dust ' has long disappeared, gravestone as well 
as glory having perished in the same ruin. Thirdly 
conies the Persian city of Bairam Ali, from which the 
station on the new railway is named, and which took 
its own name from its last defender and Khan, Avlio 
perished 100 years ago while resisting the successful 
assault of Amir Maasum, otherwise known as Begi 
Jan or Shah Murad, of Bokhara. This was the final 
and last end of a real and visible Merv, which has 
since that date been a geographical designation instead 

W l,t V, ' l r I' i an f - WVtU/1 L ' M H^ 

|rv;^^ft/;4;^v'; L f \;^, "'^ 
rllfcltv: 1 ^' 


of a built town. Very decrepit and sorrowful looked 
these wasting walls of sun-dried clay, these broken 



arches and tottering towers; but ihov is magnificence 
in their very extent, and a voice in the sorrowful 

fr 7l ft?il [ ^ 

..f (In- 


squalor of their ruin. Prior to O'Donovan, Abbott 
was the only visitor who appears to have bestowed 
upon them the slightest attention. Excavations have 
never yet been properly undertaken on this interest- 
ing site, the Bussians appearing to be too much 
occupied with the political settlement of the country 
to be able to turn a thought to archaeology or to 
research. Hut if history is of any account, a lucrative 
harvest ought here to await the excavator's spade. 

Travelling thus Eastward, and arrested at each 
forward step by some relic of a dead civilisation, or 
of a glorious but forgotten past, the imagination of the 
European cannot but be impressed with the thought 
that lie is mounting the stream of the ages, and trac- 
ing towards its remote source the ancestrv from which 


his own race has sprung. His feet are treading in an 
inverse direction the long route of humanity. The 
train that hurries him onward into new scenes seems 
at the same time to carry him backward into anti- 
quity, and with every league that he advances the 
mise en seme recedes into a dimmer distance. History 
lies outspread before him like the page of a Chinese 
manuscript, to decipher which he must begin at the 
bottom and work his way upwards to the top. 
Wherever he halts, there in a waste of ruin he dis- 
covers the flotsam and jetsam of the mighty human 
current that rolled down from the Central Asian 
plateau on to the plains of Europe and the shores 
of the Mediterranean. How eloquent is this dried-up 
river-bed, with its huge water-worn boulders lying as 
they were thrown up by the eddies of the vanished 
swirl ! At last in our time the current would seem 
to have turned back upon itself, and man, like water, 
is following a law of nature in rising to his original 
level. His face is turned Eastward and he seeks his 
primaeval home. 

In these solitudes, moreover, the traveller may central 
realise in all its sweep the mingled gloom and 
grandeur of Central Asian scenery. Throughout the 
still night the fire-horse, as the natives have some- 
times christened it, races onward, panting audibly, 
gutturally, and shaking a mane of sparks and smoke. 
Itself and its riders are all alone. No token or sound 
of life greets eye or ear; no outline redeems the 
level sameness of the dim horizon ; no shadows fall 
upon the staring plain. The moon shines with dreary 


coldness from the hollow dome, and a profound and 
tearful solitude seems to brood over the desert. The 
returning sunlight scarcely dissipates the impression of 
sadness, of desolate and hopeless decay, of a continent 
and life sunk in a mortal swoon. The traveller feels 
like a wanderer at night in some desecrated grave- 
yard, amid crumbling tombstones and half-obliterated 
mounds. A cemetery, not of hundreds of years but of 
thousands, not of families or tribes but of nations and 
empires, lies outspread around him ; and ever and anon, 
in falling tower or shattered arch, he stumbles upon 
some poor unearthed skeleton of the past. 
The sand- The Merv oasis is considered to extend for forty- 
five miles east from the bank of the Murghab, and for 
the greater part of this distance is well worthy of the 
name. Here I saw greater cultivation, a richer 
growth, and a more numerous native population than 
at any previous stage of the journey. The ariks or 
irrigation-channels still contained water, the infiltra- 
tion of which accounted for the rich parterres of 
green. In and near the ditches grew tall plumed 
grasses five feet or six feet high. The native huts, 
clustered together like black beehives, showed that 
the Mervi had not under their new masters deserted 
their old habitations. The men were to be seen every- 
where in the fields, lazily mounted on horses or on 
asses. When the desert reappears, it comes in the 
literal sense of the word with a vengeance. Between 
the oasis and the Amu Daria intervene a hundred 
miles of the sorriest waste that ever met the human 
eye. East and west, and north and south, stretches a 


troubled sea of sand, each billow clearly defined and 
arrested as it were in mid career, like an ocean wave 
curving to fall. I never saw anything more melan- 
choly than the appearance of this wilderness, and 
its sickle-shaped dome-like ridges of driven sand 
with smoky summits, sacceeding each other with the 
regularity of infantry files. Each has the appearance 
of being cloven through the crown, the side facing 
towards the north-east, whence the prevailing winds 
blow, being uniformly convex and smooth, while the 
southern face is vertical and abrupt. From time 
immemorial nature's curse has been upon this spot ; 
and successive travellers and historians have testified 
to the dismal continuity of its reputation. 

From the quaint Elizabethan translation of 
Quintus Curtius, by one J. Brende (1553), I take ancient* 
the following passage, descriptive of this very region 
between the Murghab and the Oxus : 

The nature of the soyle of whiche countrey is divers and 
of sundrye kindes. Some place is plentifull of woodo and 
vines, and aboundaunte of pleasaunte fruite, the grounde fatte, 
well watered, and full of springes. Those partes which be 
most temperate are sowed with corne, and the rest he re- 
served for fedying of beastes. But the greater part of 
the countrey is covered over with baraine sandes, and 
withered up for want of moisture, nourishing neither man, 
nor bringinge forth fruite. But with certaine windes that 
come from the Sea of Ponte (i.e. the Caspian) the sand in the 
plaines is blowen together in heapes, which seme a farre of 
like great hilles, wherby the accustomed wayes be damned, 
so that no signe of them can appere. Therfore such as do 
passe those plaines use to observe the starres in the night 
as thei do that sayle the seas, and by the course of them 


direct their journey. The nightes for the more parte be 
brighter than the dayes, wherfore in the daye time the 
countrey is wild and impassible, when they can neither finde 
any tracte nor waye to go in, nor marke or signe wherby to 
passe, the starres beying bidden by the miste. If the same 
winde chaunce to come durying the time that men be pass- 
ying, it overwhelmeth them with sande. 

Not less accurate, awl perhaps even more realis- 
tic, is the narrative of the illustrious Spanish Hidalgo 
Don Iluy de Clavijo, who, crossing the Oxus sands on 
December 10, 1404, on his homeward journey from 
a mission to the Court of Timur at Samarkand, wrote 
as follows : 

On the banks there were groat plains of sand, and the 
sand was moved from one part to another by the wind, and 
was thrown up in mounds. In this sandy waste there are 
great valleys and hills, and the wind blew the sand away 
from one hill to another, for it was very light ; and on the 
ground, where the wind had blown away the sand, the marks 
of waves were left ; and men could not keep their eyes on 
this sand when the sun was shining. 1 

Difficulties This was the most difficult section of the line to 
railway build, there being next to no natural vegetation to aid 
in fixing the sands, and the displacement when gales 
blew being tremendous. I have mentioned that the 
Russians are now in some places beginning to plant the 
samouL This is a slight atonement for the foolish 
economy which led them, on their first arrival, almost 
to exterminate it in several districts for the sake of fuel, 

1 Narrative of the Embassy of Euy Gonzalez de Clavijo to UM 
Court of Timour at Samarkand, A.D. 1403. Translated by Clements 
R. Markham for the Hakhiyt Society, 1859. 


A relic of this mistaken policy in the shape of big 
stacks of gnarled roots and boughs may still be seen 
at several of the stations, which in this region are little- 
more than rude shanties built of a few planks and 
half-buried in the sand I expect that if General 
Annenkoff begins to expend his credit in this horrible 
waste, the major part will be swallowed up before he 
emerges on the other side. 

At last, after a whole day of this desolation, we The 
again come to cultivated land separated by a line 


that might have been drawn by a rule from the Kara 
Kum. Passing at a slight distance the town and fort 
of Tcharjui, where Bokharan territory begins, and 
which is commanded by a Beg or native Governor, 
the railway traverses six miles of orchard and 
garden and brings us at length to the source and 
giver of this great bounty, the Amu Daria or Oxns 
itself. There in the moonlight gleamed before us the 
broad bosom of the mighty river that from the glaciers 
of the Pamir rolls its 1,500 miles of current down to 


the Aral Sea. In my ears were continually ringing 
the beautiful words of Matthew Arnold, who alone of 
English poets has made the great Central Asian river 
the theme of his muse, and has realised its extra- 
ordinary and mysterious personality. Just as when 
upon its sandy marge the hero Eustum bewailed his 
dead son, so now before our eyes 

the majestic river floated on 
Ou,t of the mist and hum of that low land 
Into the frosty twilight, and there moved 
Rejoicing through the hushed Chorasmian waste 
Under the solitary moon. 

The Gihon of Eden, ' that encompasseth the whole 
land of Ethiopia,' l the Vak-shu of Sanskrit literature, 
the Oxus of the Greeks, the Amu Daria, or Eiver-Sea, 
of the Tartars no river, not even the Nile, can claim 
a nobler tradition, or a more illustrious history. 
Descending from the hidden ' Eoof of the world/ its 
waters tell of forgotten peoples and whisper secrets 
of unknown lands. They are believed to have rocked 
the cradle of our race. Long the legendary water- 
mark, between Iran and Turan, they have worn a 
channel deep into the fate of humanity. World-wide 
conqueror^ an Alexander and a Tamerlane, slaked 
their horses' thirst in the Oxus stream ; Eastern poets 
drank inspiration from its fountains ; Arab geographers 
boasted of it as c superior in volume, in depth, and in 
breadth to all the rivers of the earth/ 
Width and The bed 'of the Amu Daria i.e. the depression 
which is covered in time of high water is here between 

1 Genesis ii. 13. 


two and three miles wide ; though in summer, when 
swollen by the melted snows of the Hindu Kush and 
the Pamir, the inundated surface sometimes extends 
to five miles. In the autumn and winter, when the 
waters have shrunk, the channel is confined within 
its true banks, and is then from half a mile to a mile 
in width, flowing with a rapid current of most ir- 
regular depth over a shifting and sandy bottom. 
When Burnes crossed it at Tcharjui in August 1832, 
he found the channel about 050 yards across. At 
the time of our visit, in October 1888, the stream was 
unusually low, and the main channel was of no greater 
dimensions. Mud-banks, covered with ooze or sand, 
showed where the current had only recently subsided. 
Still, however, did it merit the title, ' The great Oxus 
stream, the yellow Oxus.' The colour of the water 
is a very dirty coffee-lmed brown, the facsimile of 
that of the Nile ; but it is extremely healthy and can 
be drunk with impunity. I \vas strangely reminded 
by the appearance of this great river, by the formation 
of its bed, by the structure of its banks, and by the 
scenery and life which they displayed, of many a 
landscape 011 the Nile in Upper Egypt. There is the 
same fringe of intensely fertile soil along its shores, 
with the same crouching clay-built villages, and even a 
Bokharan counterpart to the sakkiyeh and shadoof \ 
for raising and distributing the life-giving waters of 
the stream. Only on the Oxus there is no cliff* like 
the eastern wall of the Nile at Gebel-et-Tayr, and, alas ! 
in this northern latitude there is no belt of coroneted 



General The problem of crossing the Amu Daria at this 

koT place was regarded as the most serious difficulty by 
railway which General Annenkoff was confronted, and the 


bridge by which he solved it, though confessedly only 
a temporary structure, is looked upon by his followers 
with parental pride. It is an inelegant structure, 
built entirely of wood, which was brought all the 
way from Russia, and rests on more than 3,000 piles, 
which are driven very close together into the bed 
of the stream. At first the plan was contemplated 
of conveying the railway across upon, a kind of 
steam feriy worked by a cable which was to be fixed 
upon a largish island in mid-stream. But this idea 
was presently surrendered in favour of the existing 
structure, which was designed by M. Daragan and 
built by a Polish engineer, named Bielinski, for the 
very moderate sum of 30,000^., the economy of the 
undertaking being its chief recommendation to the 
authorities. It is constructed in four sections, there 
being four branches of the river at this spot, separated 
by islands. The united length of the four bridges is 
over 2,000 yards. M. Mestcherin told me with pride 
that the main part had been put up in the extraordi- 
narily brief period of 103 days. The top of the bridge 
is inconsiderably elevated above the river, and the 
rails, though thirty feet above the lowest water, are only 
five feet above the level of the highest flood. A small 
plank platform and handrail runs alongside of the 
single line of rails. Our train crawled very slowly 
across, and occupied fifteen minutes in the transit. 
As soon as the bridge was finished, the Russians 


with amazing stupidity did their best to ruin it alto- its tempo 

. A . . , rary cha- 

getlier by cutting it in two. A section in the centre racter 
had been so constructed as to swing open and to 
admit of a steamboat, which had been built in St^ 
Petersburg and put together just below, arid in which 
it was expected that General liosenbach, who came 
down to attend the inaugural function, would make 
a journey up-stream to Kerki. It did not seem to 
have occurred to anybody that if the steamer was 
only intended for up-stream traffic, it might as well 
have been pieced together above the bridge as below. 
However, when it approached the gap, this was dis- 
covered to have been made just too small. Sooner 
than disappoint the general, who was kept in ignorance 
of what was passing, or confess their blunder, the 
Russian engineers sliced another section of the bridge 
in two, pulling up two of the main clusters of piles. 
The result was that the bridge, frail enough to start 
with, and with its continuity thus cruelly shattered, 
nearly collapsed altogether ; and some months were 
spent in getting it into working order again. It was 
quite anticipated that it would not survive the 
unusually high floods of 1888 ; and no one believes 
it can last more than a very few years. An even 
greater risk, to which so prodigious a structure built 
entirely of wood is by its nature exposed, is that of 
fire, ignited by a falling spark. To meet this danger, 
six fire stations with pumps and hose have been estab- 
lished on the top. However, the bridge will already 
have served its purpose, if only in conveying across 
the material for the continuation of the railway to 


Samarkand, and must ultimately be replaced l>y a 
more solid iron fabric, the cost of which, according 
to the plan of construction, is variously estimated at 
from 250,000*. to 2,000,000*. sterling. There is only 
one argument, apart from the cost, against an iron 
bridge, which may retard the execution. The Oxus 
is inclined to shift, not only its bed, but its entire 
channel. Tcharjui, now six miles inland, was origi- 
nally upon the western bank of the river, and there 
cannot be a doubt that, whether it be due, as is said, 
to a centrifugal force arising from the rotation of the 
earth and compelling rivers to impinge upon their 
eastern banks, or to other causes, the eastward 
movement of the rivor still continues. It would be, 
to say the least, exasperating to build a big iron 
bridge to cross a river, and to find it eventually 
straddling over dry land. Training-walls and a great 
expense would be required to counteract this danger. 
Below the present bridge were to be seen some of 

flotilla * 

the boats belonging to the much-vaunted Oxus flotilla, 
so dear to the imagination of Russian Jingoes, as pro- 
viding a parallel line of advance upon Afghanistan. 
As yet its resources cannot be described as in a very 
forward condition. They consist of five vessels, the 
largest of which are two paddle-steamers of very light 
draught (2* feet when laden), called respectively the 
Czar and Czaritsa, of 165 tons each, 150 ft. long and 
23 ft. broad, and with engines of 500 horse-power. 
The first of these was launched in September 1887. 
The cost was 14,000/. Each of them can carry 300 
men and 20 officers, and is navigated by 30 men. 









They are reputed to be able to do 1(5 miles an hour 
in smooth water. For the present one is to ply 
between Amu Dam and IVlro Alexandrovsk, just 
above Khiva; the other up-stream to Kerki, the 
most advanced military position of Russia on the 
river, 140 miles from Tcharjui, occupied by agree- 
ment with Bokhara, to whom strictly it belongs, in 
May 1887, and garrisoned by Russian troops since. 
Kerki is an important place, both commercially, as 
the market for the Afghan towns of Aiulkui and 


Mahnena. and the trading point of transfer between 
Turkomania and Afghan Turkestan ; and strategically, 
as the point from which, either by river or, as is 
more probable, by rail (extended hither along the 
bank of the Amu Daria from Tcharjui), a Russian 
advance may ultimately bo expected upon Northern 
Afghanistan. Hitherto the difficulties of navigation, 
arising partly from the swiftness of current, which 
impedes any but powerful steamers, partly from the 
shallow and .shifting channel which renders the 


employment of such almost impossible, have had a 
disheartening effect ; and it was only after many 
vicissitudes that the first effort to reach Kerki was 
accomplished. Since that time, however, and in the 
spring of the present year, General liosenbach has 
made the passage to Kerki in the Czar. In the rest 
of the flotilla are included two large floats or barges, 
capable of carrying 1,000 men apiece, which would 
require to be towed up-stream. These barges draw 
a maximum of 2 feet of water, will carry a cargo of 
100 tons, and cost 5,0002. apiece. It is evident from 
these details that the Oxus flotilla, whose strength has 
been exaggerated in this country, is still in its infancy ; 
and that, to whatever dimensions it may swell in the 
future, it cannot at present be looked upon as con- 
tributing much to the offensive strength of Russia in 
Central Asia. 




Quant il orent passe" eel desert, si vindrent i une cit qui rst 
Bocara, moult noble et grant. MARCO POLO. 

Continuation of the railway to Bokhara Scenery of the Khanate 
Approach to the city Attitude of the Bokhariots towards the 
railway New Russian town Political condition of the Khanate 
Accession of the reigning Amir Seid Abdul Ahad Abolition 
of slavery Novel security of access History of Bokhara Pre- 
vious English visitors to Bokhara Road from the station to the 
city The Russian Embassy Native population Foreign ele- 
ments An industrial people Bokharan women Religious build- 
ings and practice The Great Minaret Criminals hurled from 
the summit Assassination of the Divan Begi Torture of the 
murderer Interior of the city The Righistan The Citadel and 
State prison The Great Bazaar Curiosities and manufactures 
Brass and copper ware Barter and currency Russian mono- 
poly of import trade from Europe Russian firms in the city 
Statistics of trade Effects of the railway. Regtrictions on the 
sale of liquor- -Mussulman inebriety Survival of ancient cus- 
toms Dr. Heyfelder The reahta or guinea- worm of Bokhara 
Bokharan army Native Court and ceremonial Tendency tc 
incorporation Transitional epoch at Bokhara. 

I OBSERVED in the last chapter that, upon arriving at 
Tcharjui, we had passed from Eussianon to Bokharau railway to 
territory. The distinction is of course a somewhat 
artificial one, for though it rests upon treaty stipula- 
tions, yet Bussia can do in Bokhara what she pleases, 
and when she humours the pretensions of Bokharan 


autonomy, only does so because, being all-powerful, she 
can afford to be lenient. The pretence of indepen- 
dence was, however, kept up, so far as the construc- 
tion of the railway through the territory of the Amir 
was concerned the strip of country traversed by the 
line and the ground occupied by the station buildings 
being in some cases presented gratis by the good-will 
of the Amir, but in the majority of instances bought 
either from him or from the local proprietors of the 
soil. At that time Russian influence and credit 
do not appear to have been quite as omnipotent in 
Bokhara as they now are ; for the Oriental landlords, 
with characteristic caution, turned up their noses at 
the paper rouble, and insisted upon being paid in 
silver, which had to be bought for the purpose in 
Hamburg, and transported all the way to Central 
Asia. I do not know whether the hypothesis of a 
similar transaction may be held to have explained 
the big padlocked bags, strongly guarded by soldiers, 
and evidently containing bullion, that I saw landed 
from our steamer at Uzun Ada. 
enery As we advanced further into the Khanate, a new 


countiy spread before us. It displayed the exuberant 
richness, not merely of an oasis or reclaimed desert, 
but of a region long and habitually fertile. Great 
clumps of timber afforded a spectacle unseen since 
the Caucasus ; and large walled enclosures, overtopped 
with fruit-trees, marked the country residences of 
Bokharan squires. It was of this neighbourhood 
that Ibn Haukal, the Arab traveller, wrote as long 
ago as the tenth century : * In all the regions of 





the earth there is not a more flourishing or a more 
delightful country than this, especially the district of 
Bokhara. If a person stand on the Kohendiz (i.e. 
the Castle) of Bokhara, and cast his eyes around, 
he shall not see anything but beautiful green and 
luxuriant verdure on every side ; so that he would 
imagine the green of the earth and the azure of the 
heavens were united. And as there are green fields 
in every quarter, so there are villas interspersed 
among the green fields. And in all Khorasan and 
Maweralnahr there are not any people more long- 
lived than those of Bokhara/ l At Kara Kill, where Approach 
the last surviving waters of the Zcrafshan find their 
home in three small lakes, we reached the district so 
famous for its black, tightly curled lambskins, the 
Asiatic equivalent and superior to what in Europe we 
denominate Astrakhan. At the same time, curiously 
enough, the huge sheepskin bonnets, with which the 
Turkomans had rendered us familiar, disappeared in 
favour of the capacious white turban of the Uzbeg or 
the Tajik. Early in the afternoon (we had left Amu 
Daria at 7 A.M.) there appeared over the trees on the 
north of the line a tall, graceful minaret, and the spheri- 
cal outline of two large domes. We were in sight of 
Bokhara Es Sherif, or the Noble, at the present junc- 
ture the most interesting and intact city of the East. 
Skirting the city, from which we cannot at one moment 
have been more than four miles distant, and seeming 
to leave it behind, we stopped at the new Russian 

1 The Oriental Geography of Ibrt Haukal. Translated by Sir 
William Ouseley, Knt. 1800. 


station of Bokhara, situated nearly ten miles from its 

Upon inquiry I found that the station had been 
Jokhanots very deliberately planted on this site. A committee, 
te railway consisting of representatives of the Russian and 
Bokharan Governments and of merchants of both 
nationalities, had met to investigate and determine 
the question of locality. Some of the native merchants 
were in favour of a site nearer the town, though the 
gener al attitude of the Bokhariots towards the railway 
was then one of suspicion. It was regarded as foreign, 
subversive, anti-national, and even Satanic. Shaitan's 
Arba, or the Devil's Wagon, was what they called it. 
Accordingly it was stipulated that the line should as 
far as possible avoid the cultivated land, and should 
pass at a distance of ten miles from the native city. 
This suggestion the Russians were not averse to 
adopting, as it supplied them with an excuse for 
building a rival Russian town around the station 
buildings, and for establishing a cantonment of 
troops to protect the latter, a step which might have 
been fraught with danger in the nearer neighbour- 
hood of the capital. Now, however, the Bokhariots 
are victims to much the same regrets as the wealthy 
English landowners who, when the railway was first 
introduced in this country, opposed at any cost its 
passage through their property. Already when the 
first working train steamed into Bokhara with rolling 
stock and material for the continuation of the line, 
the natives crowded down to see it, and half in 
fear, half in surprise, jumped into the empty wagons. 


Presently apprehension gave way to ecstasy. As 
soon as the line was in working order they would 
crowd into the open cars in hundreds, waiting for 
hours in sunshine, rain, or storm, for the engine to 
puff and the train to move. I found the third-class 
carriages reserved for Mussulman passengers crammed 
to suffocation, just as they are in India; the infantile 
mind of the Oriental deriving an endless delight from 
an excitement which he makes not the slightest 
effort to analyse or to solve. So great is the business 
now done at the station, that in September last General 
Annenkoff told a correspondent that since July the 
daily receipts from passenger and goods traffic com- 
bined had amounted to more than 300/. Etiquette 
prevents the Amir himself from travelling by a method 
so repugnant to Oriental tradition ; but he exhibits 
all the interest of reluctant ignorance, and seldom 
interviews a Russian without enquiring about its 
progress. 1 

In a short time the new Russian town of which I New RUB- 
have spoken will start into being. Plots of land ad- 
joining the railway have been eagerly bought up by 
commercial companies, who will transfer their head- 
quarters hither from the native city. An imposing 
station building had, when I visited it, risen to the 
height of two courses of stone above the ground. 
Barracks are to be built ; streets will be laid out ; a 
Residency will receive the Russian diplomatic Agent 

1 Vide ' Buchara nach und vor der transkaspischen Eisenbahn ' 
Von Staatstrath Dr. 0. Heyfelder. Unsere Zeit, Leipzig, October 


to the Amir, who now lives in the capital under limi- 
tations arising from his restricted surroundings, and 
from the fact that according to Bokharan etiquette 
every distinguished stranger in the city, himself 
included, becomes ipso facto a guest of the Amir, and 
is supplied with board and lodging. In another 
decade the new Bokhara will have attracted to itself 
much of the importance of the ancient city, arid 
with its rise and growth the prestige of the latter must 
inevitably decline. Thus, by a seeming concession to 
native sentiment, the Eussians are in reality playing 
their own game. 
Political Before I describe my visit to the old Bokhara, I 


of the propose to append some observations upon the present 
political condition of the Khanate, a subject about 
which very scant and imperfect information appears 
ever to percolate to England. 

The existing relations between Russia and 
Bokhara are defined by the two treaties of 18G8 and 
1873, 1 both of which were concluded between Kauf- 
mann, on behalf of the Imperial Government, and 
the late Amir Mozaffur-ed-din. These treaties left 
Bokhara, already shorn of Samarkand and the beau- 
tiful province of Zerafshan, in a position of qualified 
independence, the privileges of a court and native 
government being conceded in return for the surrender 
of the waterway of the Oxus, and of certain com- 
manding fortified positions, to Eussia. So closely, 
however, were the Russian toils cast round the 
Khanate that these conditions were generally recog- 

1 For a translation of this treaty, vide Appendix V. 


nised as involving ultimate absorption ; and there was 
scarcely a single English writer who did not confi- 
dently predict that the death of the then Amir would 
infallibly be succeeded by total annexation. Sir 
Henry Rawlinson^ by far the greatest English authority 
on Central Asia, expressed the following opinion (in 
an essay entitled * Later Phases of the Central Asian 
Question/ written in December 1874): ' As soon as 
there is rapid and direct communication between the 
Caucasus and Turkestan, a Russian Governor-General 
will take the place of the Amir, and then, if we may 
judge by our own Afghan experience, the Russian 
difficulties will commence.' Mozaflur-cd-din has since 
died, and Turkestan is linked by a railway the most 
rapid and direct of all communications to the 
Caspian, and yet there is now, and is likely for some 
time to continue, an Amir of Bokhara. Russia has 
in fact played the part of sacrificing the shadow for 
the sake of the substance, and of tightening the iron 
grip beneath the velvet glove, with such adroitness 
and success that she can well afford for a time to leave 
the Khanate of Bokhara alone, with all the trouble 
and expense of annexation, and to tolerate a semi- 
independent Amir with as much complacency as we 
do a Khan of Khelat or a Maharajah of Kashmir. 
The analogy to Afghanistan is a faulty one, for the 
Bokhariots are not a turbulent or a fanatical people ; 
and, though composed of several nationalities, present 
a fairly homogeneous whole. 

The late Amir, who was a capable man, though a 
debauchee, died in 1885, leaving several sons. The 





- complete ascendency of Eussia was well illustrated* 
by the events that ensued. Mozaffur had solicited, 
the recognition as his heir of his fourth son, Seid 
Abdul Ahad, although the offspring of a slave ; and 
this preference had been diplomatically humoured by 
the Eussian Government, who sent the young man to 
St. Petersburg (where now also they are educating 
his younger brother) and to Moscow, to imbibe 
Eussian tastes and to be dazzled by the coronation of 
the Czar. In Eastern countries it is of the highest 
importance, immediately upon the occurrence of a 
vacancy to the throne, to have an official candidate 
forthcoming $nd to strike the first blow a cardinal 
rule of action which Great Britain has uniformly 
neglected in her relations with Afghanistan. At the 
time of his father's death Abdul Ahad was Beg of 
Kermineh, a position which he held, even as a boy, 
during Schuyler's visit in 1873. The death of the 
old Amir was concealed for twelve hours ; special 
messengers left at full gallop for Kermineh ; the palace 
and troops were assured by the loyalty of the Kush- 
Begi or Grand Vizier, who marched out of the town 
to receive the new Amir. As soon as the death of 
Mozaffur leaked out the rumour was spread that 
a Eussian general and army were advancing upon 
Bokhara ;* and when Abdul Ahad appeared, attended 
by General Annenkoff, whose presence in the vicinity 
had been judiciously turned to account, he entered 
into the inheritance of his fathers without difficulty 

' and without striking a blow. 

His eldest brother, Abdul Melik, who rebelled 



against his father eighteen years ago, has for some 
time been a fugitive in India, and is detained by the 
British Government at Abbotabad. Another elder 
brother, who was Beg of Hissar at the time of his 
brother's accession, and who also contemplated 
rebellion, was quietly removed as a State prisoner to 
Baisun. 1 A third, who was similarly implicated, was 
deprived of his Begship of Tchiraktclii and incar- 
cerated in the capital. 2 The opposition, if it exists, 
has not dared to lift its head since. 

Seid Abdul Ahad is a young man of twenty-eight Seia Abdul 
or twenty-nine years of age, tall, black-bearded, and 
dignified in appearance. I saw him at Bokhara. 
Clad in magnificent robes, and riding at the head of 
a long cavalcade through the bazaar, he looked 
worthy to be an Oriental monarch. Little is publicly 
known of his character, which T heard variously de- 
scribed as inoffensive and avaricious. He is reputed 
among those who know him to be intelligent, and to 
understand the exact limits of his own independence. 
It is almost impossible to tell how far he is popular 
with his subjects, Oriental respect for the title out- 
weighing all considerations of the personality of its 
bearer. Moreover, espionage is understood here, as 
elsewhere in the East, to play a prominent part in 
native regime, and disloyalty is too dangerous to be 
common. If he can persuade his people that he is 
still something more than a gilded marionette, as the 

1 For an account of this incident, vide M. Bonvalot's new work, 
Through the Heart of Asia, 1889, vol. i. pp. 280-1 ; vol. ii. p. 28. 

2 Ibid. vol. ii. p. 23. 


Russians are politic enougli to allow him to do, and if at 
the same time he tacitly takes his orders from Tashkent, 
there is no reason why he should not retain his crown. 
Abolition The Russians take great credit to themselves for 

o savory j iay j n g p crsua( | e d the young sovereign to issue a 
decree, signed November 19, 188G, totally abolishing 
slavery in the State of .Bokhara, and giving to each 
man a written certificate of his freedom a step 
which would hardly have been necessary if Clause 
XVII. of the Treaty of 1873 had been at all faithfully 
carried out. 

The traffic in human beings, being contrary to the law 
which commands man to love his neighbour, is abolished for 
ever in the territory of the Khanate. In accordance with 
this resolve, the strictest injunctions shall be given by the 
Amir to all his Begs to enforce the new law, and special 
orders shall be sent to all border towns where slaves are trans- 
ported for sale from neighbouring countries, that should any 
such slaves be brought there, they shall be taken from their 
owners and set at. liberty without loss of time. 

The relations between the two courts are in the 
capable hands of M. Tcharikoff, a most accomplished 
man, speaking English fluently the result of an 
early Edinburgh education and a thorough master 
of Oriental politics. 

Novel I* was wftli no small astonishment that I found 

f myself in the agreeable company of Dr. Ileyfelder, ap- 
proaching without let or hindrance the to English- 
men almost unknown city of Bokhara. I remembered 
having read in a notice in the ' Westminster Eeview ' 
of ' Vambery's Travels' the words written only thirteen 


years ago, 6 The very names of Khiva, Bokhara, and 
Samarkand are so associated with danger and difficulty 
that no European who is not prepared to take his 
life in his hand can venture to visit them.' Even at 
Tiflis but a few weeks before, M. Henri Moser, the 
Swiss traveller, who six years ago visited Central Asia, 
and in 1886 published a most vivid and admirable 
account of his travels, entitled < A travers 1'Asie 
Centrale/ had warned me to be careful of the fanati- 
cism of Bokhara, and had expressed a doubt as to 
whether a foreigner could obtain permission to enter 
the city. When he was there in 1883 himself, though 
in the company of a special envoy from the Czar, he 
remained a virtual prisoner indoors for three weeks, 
and was only once allowed to make an excursion 
through the town. I also remembered having read 
in the essay, already quoted, by Sir H. liawlinson, 
c No one questions but that the general feeling at 
Bokhara is intensely hostile to Russia, and that the 
Amir has had and still has the utmost difficulty in 
preventing his subjects from breaking out and declar- 
ing a holy war against the infidels/ And yet here 
was I, a stranger, and not even a Russian, approach- 
ing in absolute security this so-called haunt of bigotry, 
and about to spend several days in leisurely observa- 
tion of its life and people. 

Identified by some writers with the Bazaria of History of 
Quintus Curtius, where in the winter of B.C. 328, in 
the royal Chace or Paradise that had not been dis- 
turbed for four generations, Alexander the Great and 
his officers slew 4,000 animals, and where Alexander 


himself overcame a lion in single combat, extorting 
from the Spartan envoy the exclamation, ' Well done, 
Alexander, nobly hast thou won the prize of kingship 
from the king of the woods! ' generally derived from 
the Sanskrit name Vihara, or a college of wise men, 
associated in local legend with the mythical hero 
Afrasiab there is little doubt that Bokhara is one of 
the most ancient cities in the East. Since it emerged 
into the light of history about 700 A.D., it has been 
alternately the spoil of the most famous conquerors 
and the capital of the greatest kings. Under the 
Iranian Samanid dynasty, who ruled for 130 years 
till 1000 A.D., it was regarded as a pillar of Islam and 
as the pride of Asia. Students flocked to its univer- 
sities, where the most learned mullahs lectured ; 
pilgrims crowded its shrines. A proverb said, c In all 
other parts of the world light descends upon earth, 
from holy Bokhara it ascends/ Well-built canals 
carried streams of water through the city ; luxuriant 
fruit-trees cast a shadow in its gardens ; its silkworms 
spun the finest silk in Asia ; its warehouses overflowed 
with carpets and brocades ; the commerce of the East 
and West met and changed hands in its caravanserais ; 
and the fluctuations of its market determined the 
exchange of the East. The Samanids were succeeded 
by the Turki Seljuks and the princes of Kharezm; 
and then, like a storm from the desert, there swept 
down upon Bokhara the pitiless fury of the Mongol, 
engulfing all in a like cataclysm of ruin. Jagatai 
and Oktai, sons of Jenghiz Khan, made some amends, 
bv beneficent and merciful rule, for the atrocities of 


their father ; and it was about this time that the elder 
brothers Polo, making their first voyage to the East, 
' si vindrent & une cite qui est appelee Bocara, moult 
noble et grant.' A change of ownership occurred 
when about 1400 the great conqueror Timur great, 
whether we regard him as savage, as soldier, or as 
statesman overran the East, and established a Tartar 
dynasty that lasted a hundred years a period which 
has been termed the Bokharan Eenaissance. Another 
wave of conquest, the Uzbeg Tartars, ensued, again 
bringing to the surface two great names that of 
Sheibani Mehemmed Khan, who overthrew the Timurid 
sovereigns and established an ethnical ascendency that 
has lasted ever since ; and Abdullah Khan, the 
national hero of Bokhara, which owed to his liberal 
tastes much of its later architectural glory, its richly 
endowed colleges and its material prosperity. Sub- 
sequent dynasties, exhibiting a sorrowful record of 
incapacity, fanaticism, and decay, witnessed the 
gradual contraction of the once mighty empire of 
Transoxiana into a petty khanate. It is true that 
Bokhara still refers with pride to the rule of Amir 
Maasum, founder of the present or Manghit reigning 
family in 1784 ; but a bigoted devotee, wearing the 
dress and imitating the life of a dervish, was a poor 
substitute for the mighty sovereigns of the past. The 
dissolution of the times, yearly sinking into a deeper 
slough of vice, venality, and superstition, was fitly ex- 
pressed in the character and reign of his grandson, 
the infamous Nasrullah (1826-1860), whose son, 
Mozaffur-ed-din (1860-1885), successively the foe, 




the ally, and the puppet of Russia, has left to his 
heir, the reigning Amir, a capital still breathing some 
aroma of its ancient glory, but a power whose wings 
have been ruthlessly clipped, and a kingdom indebted 
for a nominal independence to the calculating prudence 
rather than to the generosity of Russia. 
Previous Enlish imaination has for centuries been stirred 

. .. PT^ll T 

visitors to by the romantic associations ot JJokliara. but . 

Bokhara . . 

visitors have rarely penetrated to the spot. The first 
who reached its walls was the enterprising mer- 
chant Master Anthony Jenkinson, who was despatched 
on several adventurous expeditions to the East be- 
tween 1557 and 1572, acting in the double capacity 
of ambassador to Queen Elizabeth and agent to the 
Muscovy Trading Company, which had been formed 
to open up the trade with the East. He stayed two 
and a half months in the city in the winter of 1558- 
59, being treated with much consideration by the 
sovereign, Abdullah Khan ; and has left a record of 
his journey and residence in Bokhara, the facts of 
which display a minute correspondence (at which no 
one acquainted with the magnificent immobility of 
the East would express surprise) with the customs 
and manners of to-day. 1 In the eighteenth century 
the record was limited to two names Colonel Garber 
in 1732, and Mr. George Thompson in 1741 . 2 In this 

1 Early Voyages in Russia and Persia. By Anthony Jenkinson 
and other Englishmen. Edited for the Hakluyt Society by E. D. 
Morgan, 1886. 

Vide Professor Grigorieff's criticism of Varabe'ry's History of 
Bokhara^ in the Appendix to Schuyler's Titrkistan, vol. i. I can 
ascertain nothing about Col. Garber (or Harber) beyond the mention 
of his nauio. Professor Grigorieff was mistaken in coupling the name 


century William Moorcroft and George Trebeck, at 
the end of six years' wanderings from India, through 
Kashmir, Afghanistan, and Turkestan, reached 
Bokhara on February 25, 1825'; leaving the city five 
months later only to die, the one at Andkui, the other 
at Mazar-i-Sherif. 1 In 1832 Lieutenant, afterwards 
Sir Alexander Burnes, succeeded in reaching Bokhara 
also from India, in company with Dr. James Gerard, 
and in concluding a treaty of commerce with the 
Amir. 2 Then in 1842 came the horrible tragedy 
which has inscribed the names of Stoddart and 
Conolly in the martyrology of English pioneers in 
the East. Sent in 1838 and 1840 upon a mission 
of diplomatic negotiation to the khanates of Central 
Asia, whose sympathies Great Britain desired to enlist 
in consequence of her advance into Afghanistan, they 
were thrown by the monster Nasrullah into a foul 
subterranean pit, infested with vermin, were sub- 
jected to abominable torture, and finally were publicly 
beheaded in 1842. Dr. Wolff, the missionary, travel- 
ling to Bokhara in 1843, in order to clear up their 

of Reynold Hogg with that of Thompson. The two travelled together 
as far as Khiva (via Samara and the Aral Sea) ; but while Thompson 
pushed on to Bokhara, Hogg remained behind, and with great difficulty, 
being plundered in the steppe, escaped at length to Orenburg. Vide 
An Historical Account of the British Trade over the Caspian Sea. 
By Jonas Hanway, merchant, 1753, vol. i. pp. 345- 52. 

1 Travels in the Himalayan Provinces, <&c. By Mr. William 
Moorcroft and Mr. George Trebeck, from 1819 to 1825. 2 vpls. 1841. 
The editor, who published these travels fifteen years after the authors' 
death, omitted any account of Moorcroft's stay at Bokhara, both 
because the latter's notes were very desultory and imperfect, and 
because Burnes had published his work in the interim. 

* Travel* into Bokhara. By Lieut. Alexander Burnes. 8 vols. 
1835. Burnes' account of Bokhara is still one of the best extant. 


fate, ran many risks, but at length escaped with his 
life. For forty years, however, owing partly to the 
terror inspired by this disaster and to the perils of 
the journey, partly to the increasing influence of 
Russia, who did not encourage English intruders upon 
her new preserves, not a single Englishman set foot 
in Bokhara. A deep mystery overhung the place 
like a cloud, from which occasionally peeped the 
glint of Russian arms, or rang the voice of Russian 
cannon. A flash of light was thrown upon the pre- 
vailing darkness about half-way through this period 
by the heroic voyage of the Hungarian Vamb^ry, 
who penetrated to Bokhara in the garb of a mendi- 
cant dervish in 18G3, and whose work, being pub- 
lished in English, awoke a profound sensation in this 
country. 1 In 1873, Dr. Schuyler, the American, 
visited Bokhara under Russian patronage, in his tour 
through the Czar's dominions in Central Asia, and 
wrote a work which may be described as monumental, 
and is still a classic on the subject. 2 Dr. Lansdell, 
the so-called missionary, was the next English visitor 
after Wolff, in 1882. I do not know of any others 
till the small batch who have obtained leave to go 
since the Transcaspian Railway was made, and whose 
experience it is my object to relate. 

Upon our arrival at the station we committed 
to the city ourselves to a caleche drawn by a troika, or team of 
three horses abreast, which had been sent down from 
the Russian Embassy in the city to meet us, and 

1 Travels in Central Asia. By Arminius Vambe'ry. 1864. 
8 Turkintan. By Eugene Schuyler. 2 vols. 1870. 


started for the capital. But for this good fortune 
we might have been compelled to make the journey 
either on donkey-back or in one of the huge wooden 
springless carts of the country called arias, the 
wheels of which are from eight to ten feet high, and 
on whose elevated floor the natives squat contentedly, 
while the driver, usually seated on a saddle on the 
horse's back, urges the vehicle in the most casual 
manner over inequalities that would upset any less 
clumsy construction. Donkeys appeared to be the 
most popular method of locomotion, it being con- 
sidered undignified in that country to walk. Two 
and even three men sit astride of the same diminu- 
tive animal, dan'gling their legs to the ground ; or a 
bearded veteran, with his knees tilted up to his chin 
by the ridiculously short stirrups, would be seen 
perched upon a heap of saddle-bags, with a blue bale 
reared up behind him, which closer inspection re- 
vealed to be a daughter or a wife. Blinding clouds 
of dust, stirred by the great traffic, rolled along the 
road, which lay between orchards of mulberries, 
peaches, figs, and vines, or between fields in which 
the second grain crop of the year was already spring- 
ing, or where hundreds of ripe melons littered the 
ground. We passed through several villages of low 
clay houses where dusty trees overhung the dry 
watercourses and thirsty camels stood about the 
wells, skirted a summer palace of the Amir sur- 
rounded by a mighty wall of sun-dried clay, and at 
length saw drawn out in a long line before us the 
lofty ramparts of the city, with buttresses and towers, 



eight miles round, and pierced by eleven gates, open 
from sunrise to sunset, but hermetically closed at 
that hour aainst either exit or entrance till the 

morrow. 1 

Tho Entering by one of these, the Sallia Khaneh, we 

Embury made our way for over two miles through a bewilder- 
ing labyrinth of streets and alleys to the Eussian 


Embassy, situated near the Ughlan Gate, at the far 
end of the city. This is a large native house with 
an extensive fruit garden surrounded by a clay wall, 
which was lent to the Eussians by the Amir, who 
had confiscated it from its former owner, both for 

1 A plan of Bokhara, as also of Samarkand, is given in the Russian 
original, but not, unfortunately, in the English translation, of Khani- 
koff's work. . . 



their own accommodation and for the entertainment 
of all distinguished guests. The servants, horses, 
grocery, and food are supplied by the Amir, one of 
whose officers, called the Mirakhur (literally Amir 
Akhor, i.e. Master of the Horse), lives in the outer 
court, and sits for the most part of the day smoking 
a pipe and tranquilly surveying operations. In one 
court are picketed the horses of the Eussian guard, 


consisting of twenty Cossacks of the Ural. In the 
next are several guest-chambers, whose furniture 
consists of a carpet, a rope bedstead, and a table ; 
and in a third are the offices and reception-rooms of 
the Embassy, all on a scale of similar unpretentious- 
ness and in pure native style. On our table was 
spread every morning a dastarkhan (literally table- 
napkin) or collation of sugarplums, dried raisins, 
sweetmeats, and little cakes, together with a huge 


flat slab of brown bread the traditional hospitality 
of the Amir. We never knew what to do with these 
dainties, which were not altogether to English taste, 
and the various plates with their contents became 
quite a nuisance. Washing was rather a difficulty, 
because the only jug known to the natives is a brass 
ewer, which holds about as much as a teapot ; and 
the only basin a receptacle with a small bowl in the 
middle of a large brim, the idea being that it is 
sufficient for water to be poured over the hands to 
ensure ablution. I created a great sensation with an 
indiarubber bath. Every morning the attendants 
brought in the provisions of the day for the entire 
household, consisting of mutton, chickens, and fruit ; 
but the uncertain arrival and quantity of these 
rendered the hour of meals rather precarious. We 
were most hospitably welcomed by the Eussian 
attach^ who, in the absence of M. Tcharikoff, the 
Eesident, was acting as charge d'affaires. He seemed 
to be overwhelmed with business, and deputations of 
the Amir's ministers, and other gorgeously robed 
officials were coming in and out the entire day. If 
we lost our way in the town, which it was almost 
impossible not to do, we had only to mention 
Eltchikhaneh, the name of the Embassy, to be at once 
shown the direction. I remember that as we reached 
our destination the sun was sinking. As its last rays 
lit up the horizon and threw the outline of dome and 
tower into picturesque relief, there rang through the 
cool calm air a chorus of piercing cries. The muez- 
zins from a hundred minarets were calling the people 


to the Namaz, or evening prayer. In Bokhara, where 
the Mussulmans affect to be great purists, the Ezan, 
as it is called, is recited instead of chanted, the latter 
being thought a heterodox corruption. For a minute 
or two the air is a Babel of sound. Then all sinks 
into silence and the shadows descend. At night 
the only sound is the melancholy beat of the watch- 
man's drum as he patrols the streets with a lantern, 
no one being suffered abroad at that hour. 

Bokhara is still a great city, for it numbers ap- Native 


proximately one hundred thousand souls. Of these 
only one hundred and fifty are Europeans, nearly all 
of them Eussians, Germans, or Poles. The bulk of the 
native population are Tajiks, the aboriginal Iranian 
stock, who may generally be distinguished from their 
Tartar brethren by the clearness and often by the 
brightness of their complexions, by the light colour 
of their hair and beards, sometimes a chestnut or 
reddish-brown, and by their more refined features. 
Tajik and Uzbeg alike are a handsome race, and a 
statelier urban population I never saw than in the 
streets and bazaars of the town. Every man grows 
a beard and wears an abundant white turban, con- 
sisting in the case of the orthodox of forty folds, and 
a long robe or khalat of striped cotton, or radiant 
silk, or parti-coloured cotton and silk. Bokhara has 
long set the fashion in Central Asia in the matter of 
dress, and is the great clothes mart of the East. 
Here the richness of Oriental fancy has expressed 
itself in the most daring but artistic combinations of 
colour. The brightest crimson and blue and purple 


and orange are juxtaposed or interlaced ; and in 
Bokhara Joseph would have been looked upon as the 
recipient of no peculiar favour in the gift of a coat 
of many colours. Too often there is the most glar- 
ing contrast between the splendour of the exterior 
and the poverty that it covers. Many of the people 
are wretchedly poor ; but living is absurdly cheap, 
and your pauper, undaunted by material woes, 
walks abroad with the dignity of a patriarch and in 
the garl) of a prince. 

Foreign Foreign elements are mingled in great numbers 

in the population. Slavery brought the Persians in 
old days to the Bokharan market, and has bequeathed 
to freedom their children and grandchildren. Usury 
brings the Hindus or Multani, as they are called, 
from a prevalent idea that Multan is the capital of 
India. With their dark complexions and lank black 
locks, with their tight dress and red caste marks on 
the forehead, 1 they are an unmistakable lot. Living 
in caravanserais without wives or families they lead 
an unsocial existence and return to their country as 
soon as they have made their fortune. Neighbour- 
hood brings the Kirghiz, the Turkomans, and the 
Afghans. Business brings to Bokhara, as it has 
taken all over the world, the Jews, who are here a 
singularly handsome people of mild feature and 
benign aspect. Confined to an Oriental ghetto and 
for long cruelly persecuted in Bokhara, they still 

1 It is of the Hindus of Bokhara that Dr. Lansdell makes the aston- 
ishingly ingenuous remark : * They paint a red circle, about two inches 
in diameter, on their forehead, whether by compulsion or for glory 
and beauty I Know not.' Russian Central Asia, vol. ii. p. 101. 


exhibit in their ' prescribed dress and appearance the 
stamp of a peculiar people. The head is shaven 
save for two long locks hanging in a curl on either 
temple ; they wear a square black calico bonnet 


trimmed with Astrakhan border, and a girdle round 
the waist. To my astonishment I met with one who 
could speak a little French. 

One thing impressed itself very forriblv on mv An 

n iinii i ' tri 

mind, namely, t hat JJoknara is not no\v a haunt ol 

l l H ' 


zealots, but a city of merchants. It contains a 
peaceful, industrious, artisan population utterly un- 
fitted for war, and as wanting in martial instinct as 
in capacity. The hostility to strangers, and parti- 
cularly to Christians, sometimes degenerating into 
the grossest fanaticism, upon which earlier travellers 
have enlarged, has either disappeared from closer 
contact witli civilisation, or is prudently disguised. 
I attribute it rather to the former cause, and to the 
temperate conduct of the Russians in their dealings 
with the natives ; because not even when I wandered 
about alone, and there was no motive for deception, 
did I observe the smallest indication of antagonism 
or repugnance. Many a face expressed that blank 
and haughty curiosity which the meanest Oriental 
can so easily assume ; but I met with no rudeness 
or interference. On the contrary, the demeanour of 
the people was friendly, and no one when interro- 
gated declined to answer a question. An acquaint- 
ance of the previous day would salute you as you 
passed by placing his hand on his breast and 
stroking his beard. I never quite knew what to do 
on these occasions. For not having a beard to 
stroke, I feared it might be thought undignified or 
contrary to etiquette to finger the empty air. 
Bokharan ' I have frequently been asked since my return it 
women .^ ^ question which an Englishman always seems to 
ask first what the women of Bokhara were like ? I 
am utterly unable to say. I never saw the features 
of one between the ages of ten and fifty. The little 
girls ran about, unveiled, in loose silk frocks, and 


wore their hair in long plaits escaping from a tiny 
skull-cap. Similarly the old hags were allowed to 
exhibit their innocuous charms, on the ground, I 
suppose, that they could excite no dangerous emo- 
tions. But the bulk of the female population were 
veiled in a manner that defied and even repelled 
scrutiny. For not only were the features concealed 
behind a heavy black horsehair veil, falling from the 
top of the head to the bosom, but their figures were 
loosely wrapped up in big blue cotton dressing-gowns, 
the sleeves of which are not used but are pinned 
together over the shoulders at the back and hang 
down to the ground, where from under this shapeless 
mass of drapery appear a pair of feet encased in big 
leather boots. After this I should be more or less 
than human if I were to speak enthusiastically of the 
Bokharan ladies. Not even the generous though fan- 
ciful interpretation of Moore, who sang of 

that deep blue melancholy dress 
Bokhara's maidens wear in mindfulness 
Of friends or kindred, dead, or far away, 

could reconcile me to so utter an abnegation of femi- 
nine duty. 

From the people I pass to the city. In a place Religious 
so arrogant of its spiritual reputation, it is not sur- and pT- 
prising that religious edifices should abound. Their 
number has, however, been greatly exaggerated. A 
devout Sunnite of Bokhara boasts that he can worship 
Allah in a different mosque on each day of the year. 
But this number must probably be halved. Similarly 



the alleged total of one hundred and sixty medresses, 
or religious collets, is about double the actual 
liirure. Both mosque and medresse are, with scarce 
an exception, in a state of great dilapidation and 
decay ; the beautiful enamelled tiles, bearing in blue 
nnd white eJmraetcrs texts from the Koran, having 
fallen or been stripped from the lofty pishtaks or 


fiii'dilcK, and the interiors bein< r in a state of great 

' < O 

squalor. In a panorama of the city are conspicuous 
three domes covered with azure tiles. One of these 
belongs to the great mosque Musjid Baliand, or 
Kalian, variously reported to have been built or re- 
stored by Tim ur, where the Jumma, or Friday service, 
is held, attended by the Amir, and in the presence. 


theoretically, of the entire population. The mosque 
consists of a vast open court surrounded by a double 
and sometimes a triple colonnade. Here it was that 
in 1219 Jenghiz Khan, riding into the mosque, and, 
being told that it was the House of God, dismounted, 
ascended the pulpit, and flinging the Koran on 
to the ground, cried out : ' The hay is cut ; give your 
horses fodder ' a permission which his savage horde 
quickly interpreted as authority for a wholesale 
massacre. The two other domes surmount the 
largest medresse of Miri Arab, standing opposite, said 
to contain one hundred and fourteen cells, and to 
have attached to it two hundred and thirty mullahs, 
and exhibiting in its structural detail the best decora- 
tive work in Bokhara. These buildings are typical 
of the religious life and even of the faith of the 
people, which, in the degradation of morals so con- 
spicuous in the East of this century, and partly owing 
to contact with a civilisation whose politic avoidance 
of prosely tism or persecution has encouraged indiffer- 
ence, have become a hollow form, veiling hypocrisy 
and corruption. The fanaticism of the dervishes or 
kalendarS) as they are called in the ' Arabian Nights,' 
of whom there used to be many orders in Bokhara, 
living in tekkehs or convents, arid who stirred a 
dangerous bigotry by their wild movements and 
appeals, has subsided or taken the form of a mendi- 
cancy which, if unattractive, does not threaten a 
breach of the peace. Eeligious toleration, inculcated 
on the one side, has developed on the other with an 
astonishing rapidity. 


The Great Between the Musi id Baliand and the Miri Arab 

Minaret . J 

rises the tapering shaft of the Minari Kalian, or Great 
Minaret, whence criminals are thrown headlong, and 
which no European had hitherto been allowed to 
ascend. I have since heard that in the early part of 
the present year this rule was for the first time in 
history relaxed. The tower, which we had already 
seen from the railway, and which reminded me some- 
what of the celebrated Kutub Minar, near Delhi, is 
nearly two hundred feet high, and is built of concen- 
tric rows of bricks stamped with decorative patterns, 
and converging towards the summit, where is an 
open gallery, on the roof of which reposes an 
enormous stork's nest. Some natives sitting at the 
base informed me that the keys were not forthcoming, 
but that on Fridays the doors flew mysteriously open. 
Their refusal to allow Christians to mount to the top 
has always been attributed to the fear that from that 
height sacrilegious eyes, looking down upon the flat 
roofs of the town, might probe a little too deeply the 
secrets of female existence. I succeeded in obtaining 
a very fair panorama of the city by climbing to one 
of the highest points of the numerous cemeteries 
scattered throughout the place. 1 From there was 
spread out around me a wilderness of flat clay roofs, 
above whose level surface towered the Ark or citadel, 
built on a lofty mound, the Great Minaret, the ruined 
pishtaks of medresses, and the turquoise domes. 

1 Khanikoff says there are thirteen inside the city walls. Burnes, 
by an extraordinary oversight, appears to have overlooked them ; and 
yet they are a very noticeable feature. 



The Minari Kalian is still used for public execu- criminals 

. / . . . T hurled 

tion, three criminals a false coiner, a matricide, and from the 

. . summit 

a robber having expiated their offences in this sum- 
mary fashion during the last three years. Judgment 
is pronounced by the native tribunals, with whose 
jurisdiction the Russians have not made the smallest 
effort to interfere. The execution is fixed for a 
bazaar day, when the adjoining streets and the square 
at the base of the tower are crowded with people. 
The public, crier proclaims aloud the guilt of the con- 
demned man and the avenging justice of the sove- 
reign. The culprit is then hurled from the summit, 
and, spinning through the air, is dashed to pieces on 
the hard ground at the base. 

This mode of punishment, whose publicity arid Assassina- 

i i - -, turn of the 

horror are well calculated to act as a deterrent among i>ivn 
an Oriental population, is not the only surviving proof 
that the nineteenth century can scarcely be considered 
as yet to have got a firm hold upon Bokhara. But a 
short time before my visit the Divan Begi, second 
Minister of the Crown, eldest son of the Kush Begi, 
or Grand Vizier the crafty old man who for many 
years has guided the policy of the Khanate, and whose 
memory extends back to the times of Stoddart and 
Conolly was publicly assassinated by an Afghan in 
the streets. He was shot with two bullets, and soon 
after expired. Various explanations were given of 
this tragedy, one theory being that it was an act of 
private revenge for a recent official seizure of the 
murderer's property on account of taxes which he 
had refused to pay. Others contended that it was 

N 2 


due to religious animosity, excited by the Persian 
descent and Sliiite heresy of the slain man his father ,- 
.the Kush Begi, having been a Persian slave who rose 
to eminence by marrying a cast-off wife of the late 
Amir. But there seemed to be sufficient reason for 
believing that the act was really an expiring effort of 
outraged patriotism, the blow being directed against 
the minister who was supposed to be mainly respon- 
sible for the Ilussophile tendencies of the Government, 
and who had inflamed the indignation of the more 
bigoted of his countrymen by countenancing the 
advent of the railway, and thus setting the seal upon 
Bokharan humiliation. Whichever of these explana- 
tions be correct, the murderer was successful in his 
object, but paid the penalty by a fate consecrated in 
the immemorial traditions of Bokhara, though a 
startling incident under the new regime. 
Torture He was handed over by the Amir to the relatives 

of the murdered man that they might do with him 
what they willed. By them he was beaten with sticks 
and stabbed with knives. Accounts vary as to the 
actual amount of torture inflicted upon the miserable 
wretch ; but it is said that his eyelids were out off or 
his eyes gouged out. In this agonising condition he 
was tied to the tail of an ass and dragged through the 
streets of the town to the market-place, where his 
body was quartered and thrown to the dogs. It is 
consoling to know that this brutal atrocity the 
vendetta of the East, the old savage law of" an eye for 
an eye and a tooth for a tooth was enacted in the 
absence of the Russian Resident, who, it is to be hoped, 



would have interfered to prevent its accomplishment 
had lie been upon the spot. 

The interior of the city is a wilderness of crooked itM-ior ( ,f 

47 the city 


alleys, winding irregularly between the blind walls 
of clay-built houses, which are without windows and 
have no aperture in their front but closely barred 
wooden doors. Trees line one of the principal streets 
and hang above the frequent tanks and pools, which 
are neither so large, so well filled, or so clean as those 
in Indian towns. On the contrary, the water is often 
low r and stagnant ; and if the pool is in the neigh- 
bourhood of a mosque, being considered holy, it is 
used for drinking as well as for washing purposes, 
and spreads the germs of the various endemic 



diseases. The largest of these reservoirs is the Liabe- Divan 13egi, near one of the most frequented 
mosques. Fjight rows of stone steps descend to the 
Wiiler-, in which men are always dipping their hands. 
The surrounding space; is a popular lounge; and 
cooked meats, confectionery, fruits, and tea are dis- 
pensed from rows of stalls under an avenue of mul- 
l>errv-l rees. 

From dawn to sunset the largest crowd is collected 
in ihe liighislan or markel-place in the north-west 
of the town. 1 Every square foot of the surface is 


occupied by stalls and booths, which are frequently 
shaded by awnings of woven reed balanced on poles 

1 Uimios' account j 7'r/nv 7* into Iloklmrd. vol. ii.) of the varied 
sights ami proxies in liio lli,uiiist:m is .still the l>os>t. 


like the umbrellas of the fakirs on the banks of the 
Ganges at Benares. Here men come to buy pro- 
visions, meat, flowers, and fruit. The butchers' 
counters are covered with the kundiuks or fat rumps 
of the so-called big-tailed sheep, of which Marco 
Polo said, six hundred years ago, that c they weigh 
thirty pounds and upwards, and are fat and excellent 
to eat.' Blocks of rose-coloured rock salt from the 
mines near Karshi were exposed in great abundance. 
Flowers appeared to be very popular, and many of 
the men wore a sprig of yellow blossom stuck behind 
the ear. Street vendors of meat went about shouting 
their wares, which consisted of kebobs and patties on 
trays. Fruit was extraordinarily luxuriant and good. 
Magnificent melons were sold at not more than a 
farthing apiece ; and the price of luscious white grapes 
was only a rouble (two shillings) for eight ponds, or 
288 English Ibs. Peaches, apricots, and the cele- 
brated Bokharan plums were not then in season. 
Not far away was the horse and donkey market; 
a horse might be bought for any price from 5$. 
to SO/. ; but a very respectable animal would cost 
about 10/. 

At the extremity of the Kighistan rises the Ark or The citadel 

r t . . i\r\e\ and State 

Citadel, originally built by Alp Arslan, over 800 years prison 
ago, upon a lofty natural elevation a mile in circum- 
ference, and surrounded by a high battlemented wall. 
The entrance gateway, erected by Nadir Shah in 1742, 
is approached by a paved slope and leads between 
two towers, above which is fixed the European clock 
made for the tyrant Nasrullah by the Italian prisoner, 


Giovanni Orlandi, as the ransom for his life. 1 Within 
the Ark are situated the palaces of the Amir and the 
Kush Begi, the Treasury, the public offices, three 
mosques, and the State prison. Sauntering out one 
morning quite early I endeavoured to penetrate into 
its interior, but was stopped and sent back by the 
frowns and gesticulations of a crowd of natives seated 
in the doorway. Somewhere in this pile of buildings 
was the horrible hole, or bug-pit, into which Stoddart 
and Conolly were thrown. It is said for some time 
to have been sealed up, though the fact that quite 
recently this was a common mode of Bokharan 
punishment is proved by the experience of the French 
travellers MM. Bonvalot and Capus, who visited the 
Bokharan fortress of Karshi in 1882, and were shown 
there a subterranean hole from which a sickening 
stench exhaled, and in which they heard the clank of 
chains, and saw the uplifted despairing hands of the 
poor wretches immured below. 2 The 6 Times ' corre- 
spondent who visited Bokhara a few months before I 
did was shown a part of the existing Zindan or prison, 
which he described in a letter to the ' Times ' (Octo- 
ber 2, 1888). But either the officials must have had 
intimation of his visit, or he was not shown the worst 
part ; for one of my companions, being admitted with- 
out warning, found one hundred prisoners huddled 
together in a low room, and chained to each other by 
iron collars round their necks, wooden manacles on 

1 For the pathetic story of this man, vife Schuyler's Turltistan, 
vol. ii. p. 90. 

2 En Asic Cent rale. De Moscou en Bactriaiie, p. 1J1 






their hands, and fetters on their feet, so that they 
could neither stand nor turn nor scarcely move. The 
Zindan, however, is not the same as the Kana Khaneh, 
where Stoddart was tortured ; nor must the dungeon, 
now covered up with a slab in the floor of the former, 
which the ' Times ' correspondent was shown, be con- 
fused witli the famous bug-pit. The Zindan with its 
two compartments, the upper and lower (i.e. sub- 
terranean) dungeons, were and are outside the Ark. 
The Kana Khaneh was inside it, near the entrance 
from the Eighistan. 1 M. Tcharikoff, the Resident, told 
me at Tashkent that the present Amir upon his 
accession shut up one of these prisons, the hundred 
and thirteen criminals who had long lain there being 
brought out, some of them beaten, and a few executed, 
but the majority released ; and it may have been to 
the Ab Khaneh, with its annexe the Kana Khaneh, 
that he referred. However this be, the facts I have 
related will show that there still remains much to be 
done in mitigating the barbarity of native rule. 

At all hours the most interesting portion of the The Great 
city is the Tcharsu, or Great Bazaar, one of the 
largest and most important in the East. It covers a 
vast extent of ground, and is said to consist of thirty 
or forty separate bazaars, of twenty-four caravanserais 
for the storage of goods and accommodation of 
merchants, and of six timis, or circular vaulted spaces, 
from which radiate the principal alleys, shaded with 
mats from the sun, and crowded with human beings 
on donkey-back, on horseback, and on foot. Huge 

1 Vide Khanikoff (translation), pp. 101-2. 


arbas crash through the narrow streets and just 
shave the counters on either hand. Behind these, 
in small cupboard-like shops, squat the Oriental 
tradesmen surrounded by their wares. Long lines of 
splendid camels laden with bales of cotton march 
superciliously along, attached to each other by a rope 
bound round the nose, the cartilage of which is for- 
bidden to be pierced, in the familiar fashion of the 
East, by a humane decree of the late Amir. 
Curiosities In different parts we may see the armourers' 

and rnatm- 

shops, the turners shops, where the workman turns 
a primitive lathe by the aid of a bowstring; the 
vendors of brightly painted red and green wooden 
saddles witli tremendous pommels inlaid with ivory ; 
of shabraques, or saddlecloths, a speciality of Bokhara, 
made of crimson velvet gorgeously embroidered with 
gold and silver thread, and powdered with silver 
spangles; of black, curly lambskin fleeces from 
Kara Kul ; of leather belts stuck with knives ; of the 
bright green tobacco or snuff which the natives chew 
with great avidity, and which is carried in a tiny 
gourd fastened with a stopper ; of pottery, coarse in 
texture but spirited in design ; of water-pipes, or 
tchilim, in which two tubes project from a brass- 
mounted gourd, one of them holding the charcoal 
and tobacco, the other for the smoker's mouth; of 
embroideries executed in large flowery patterns, and 
for the most part in crimson silk on a cotton ground, 
by a needle fixed in a wooden handle like a gimlet. 
Elsewhere are the bazaars for harness, carpets, rope, 
iron, hardware, skins, dried fruits, and drugs, the 


latter containing, in addition to medicines, cosmetics 
for the ladies' eyebrows and lashes, and rouge for 
their cheeks and nails. Whole streets are devoted to 
the sale of cotton goods, gaudy Bokharan velvets 
and rainbow-coloured native silks and tissues. Here 
leather riding-trousers, or chumbar, are procurable, 
stained red with madder, and showily embroidered 
with silk down the front. There are displayed green 
leather boots all in one piece, or long riding-boots 
with turned-up toes and ridiculously sharp-pointed 

Kassian samovars, or tea-urns, are sold in great Brass and 


numbers, and one simmers in almost every shop, tea ware 
being as constant a beverage here as it is in Japan, 
or as coffee is in Constantinople. I thought the 
jewellery insignificant and poor. But, on the other 
hand, the brass and copper work, which is confined 
to a separate bazaar, resounding the whole day with 
a mighty din of hammers, is original and beautiful. 
Elegant kunyans, or brass ewers, may be purchased ; 
and every variety of bowl, beaten into quaint designs 
and shapes, or with a pattern chiselled into the metal 
through a surface coating of tin. I was more than 
once offered silver coins of the Gra3co-Bactrian 
dynasty, bearing the inscription BASIAETS ET9T- 

Bargaining was only to be pursued with great Barter and 
patience and much cajolery, the vendor being as a 
rule by 110 means anxious to part with his article 
except for a considerable profit. Crowds will collect; 
round a European as he is endeavouring to make & 


purchase, following each stage of the transaction 
with the keenest interest, and applauding the rival 
strategy. The object under discussion will be passed 
from hand to hand, and each will give his own 
opinion. Usually a volunteer middleman detaches 
himself from the crowd, and with a great show of 
disinterestedness affects to conciliate the owner and 
to complete the bargain. A good deal of gesticula- 
tion must of necessity be employed, for with a total 
ignorance of Tartar on the one side, and of English, 
German, or French on the other, and only an in- 
finitesimal command of Russian on both, progress is 
difficult. The shopkeeper is very amenable to per- 
sonal attention. He likes to be patted on the back 
and whispered to in the ear; and if, after a pro- 
longed struggle, repeated perhaps for two or three 
days, you can at length get hold of his hand and 
give it a hearty shake, the bargain is clinched and 
the purchase is yours. The people struck me as 
very stupid in their computations, requiring calcu- 
lating-frames with rows of beads in order to make 
the simplest reckoning, and being very slow in ex- 
change. But I thought them a far less extortionate 
and rascally lot than their fellows in the marts of 
Cairo or Stamboul. Jenkinson's description of the 
Bokharan currency still holds good : 

Their money is silver and copper ; for golde, there is none 
currant ; they have but one piece of silver, and that is worth 
12 pence English ; and the copper money are called pooles, 
and 120 of them goeth to the value of the said 12d., and is 
more common paiment than the silver. 


At the time of my visit the silver tenc/a was worth 
about fivepence, and contained sixty-five of the little 
copper puls. 

It is quite evident that the Russians possess a Russian 

-i-, monopoly 

complete monopoly of the import trade from Europe, of import 
Earlier travellers report having seen many Birming- Europe 
ham and Manchester goods. I only noticed one shop 
where English wares w r ere being sold, and they had 
come through a Bombay firm. 1 Russian prints, cali- 
coes, and cottons are successfully competing with 
the far more beautiful native materials, and hideous 
brocades from Moscow debauch the instinctive good 
taste of the East. Russian iron, hardware, and 
porcelain have driven out the native manufacture of 
these articles. European ink, pens, writing-paper, 
and note-books are exposed for sale. Kerosene lamps 
are beginning to take the place of the mutton-grease 
candles, till a year ago the only means of lighting, and 
the sewing-machine buzzes in the cotton-seller's shop. 
Since my return I have heard that the entire town is 
about to be lighted witli petroleum. 

1 My observations are confirmed by the report of M. Tcharikoff for 
the year 1887 (quoted in No. 447 of the Annual Series of Trade Reports 
of the Foreign Office, 1889), which contained these words : * English 
goods are not able to compete with Kussian products, and English 
prints are rarely to be met with at present in Bokhara.' Also by 
the journal of the Russian Ministry of Finance (1889), which said: 
4 Since the construction of the Samarkand section of the Transcaspian 
railway the import trade from Russia into Bokhara has made enor- 
mous progress. On the one hand, this trade has visibly driven out 
goods of English origin from the Bokharan market, whither manufac- 
tured goods from India are never sent, with the exception perhaps of 
English muslin ; and, on the other hand, it is clear that the exporta- 
tion of Russian goods from Bokhara into Afghanistan has increased 
also. 1 


I n another direction a great change may be traced 
the city to the last two or three years. For a long time the 
considerable trade with Russia was not in Russian 
hands. Native merchants, travelling by Orenburg to 
Nijni Novgorod, taking with them silk and cotton 
stuffs, camels' hair, goats' hair, wool, and furs, and 
bringing back Eussian commodities, reaped the double 
profit. In 1873, Dr. Schuyler reported that there 
was only one Russian merchant in Bokhara. As late 
as 1885 the agents of the Eussian Commercial Com- 
pany were the only representatives, and were reported 
to be living, almost as prisoners, in a caravanserai. 
Now that the railway has been opened, and communi- 
cation is easy, the Russians are awakening to the 
possibilities of this vast untilled field of operation. 
Native monopoly is challenged in every quarter. 
There are branches in Bokhara of the Imperial 
Russian Bank, of the Central Asian Commercial Com- 
pany, and of the Eussian Transport Society ; and of 
private firms, such as those of Messrs. Nadjeschda, 
Djukoff, Burnascheff, Dursclimitt, Stein, Neumann, 
&c., all of whom are doing a lucrative business, and 
some of whom have started branches in other towns 
of the Khanate. 

statistics The latest statistics of Russo-Bokluran trade, as 
supplied by the ' Times ' correspondent (October 2, 
1888), were as follows : 


Bussian imports into the Khanate of Bokhara . 16,675,000 
]3okharan exports in to. Russia .... 1.5,040,000 

Surplus in favour of Russia 1,635,000 

From another well-informed source, however, I have 


received a different distribution of the same sum- 
total, of 31,715,000 roubles, viz. as follows : 

Exports from Imports into 

Bokhara Bokh a ra 

Roubles Koublos 

Bokharan trade with Russia . 12,500,000 10,000,000 

Persia. . 2,120,000 5,475,000 

and India 420,000 600,000 

Total . . . 15,040,000 16^75,000 

Here, as elsewhere, I have found it extremely difficult 
to obtain accurate figures ; but in this case I know 
that the second computation is official and correct. 

In illustration of the extraordinary change which Effects of 

i . . n M i 111 -i therailwrai 

m its brief existence the railway has already brought 
about, let me quote Dr. Iley fielder's own words in a 
publication to which I have already referred : ] 

In the summer of 1888 landowners from Poltawa carne 
to the Amir's dominion and bought up live sheep in Kara 
Kul, which they took home by the railway. From Moscow 
came buyers of lambskins ; from Asia Minor, French dealers 
for the export of walnut-trees ; from the Caucasus, Armenians 
and Jews, who bought huge quantities of carpets, so that 
the price was almost doubled. Not a single foreigner who 
attended the opening ceremonies, not one of the travellers 
from France, England, Italy, and Russia, who have journeyed 
over the half-finished line, went away without purchasing 
some silks, embroideries, metal-work, arms, or knives. But 
they also brought with them European innovations; and 
already, in the winter of 1888, the bazaars were stocked with 
articles never before seen : porcelain, lamps, glasses, mirrors, 
brushes, writing materials, coffee, preserves, biscuits. At the 
railway stations appeared cards, cigars, beer, wine, brandy 
(the sale of which on their own soil the Bokhariots have 

1 Unsere Zeit, October 1888. Leipzig. 


prohibited by agreement). European furniture, partly im- 
ported, partly imitated in uncouth fashion, came in the wake 
of European needs ; European buildings in a modest way are 
springing up along the railroad ; and near his country seat 
at Kari, the Amir has, of his own accord^ had built two 
Russian edifices, the one in modern, the other in old Russo- 
Byzantine style. They are in stone, and are architecturally 
tasteful and pretty. Moreover, some engineers have con- 
structed the station- buildings in beautifully hewn freestone 
and marble from the neighbouring rocks, as an example to 
the Sarmatians for the use of their rich mountain stones and 

^ n ^ Ie a ^ ove paragraph will he noticed the state- 
ment that the Amir has interdicted the sale of 
intoxicating liquor on his own territory, except, it 
may be added, for the use of the Russian Agency, 
and for the members of the European colony in the 
capital. History repeats itself; for, 330 years ago, 
Master Anthony Jenkinson, before mentioned, re- 
corded the fact that 

it is forbidden at Boghar to drinke any other thing than 
water and mare's milke ; and whosoever is found to breake 
that law is whipped arid beaten most cruelly through the open 
markets ; and there are officers appointed for the same who 
have authoritie to goe into any man's house to search if he 
have either aqua vitce wine or brage, and finding the same doe 
breake the vessels, spoil the drinke, and punish the masters 
of the house most cruelly; yea, and many times if they 
perceive but by the breath of a man that he hath drunke, 
without further examination he shall not escape their hands, 

What orthodoxy dictated in the sixteenth century, 
policy, in the decay of religious fervour, recommends 
now ; but it is greatly to be feared that the second 


will not prove as lasting or as powerful a deterrent 
as was the first. At all the railway stations along 
the line is to be found a plentiful display of liquor 
arid spirits, in the fantastic glass bottles, shaped like 
animals, that the Eussian taste affects. The Russian 
soldier in Central Asia lias an excuse for insobriety 
in the loneliness of his life and the want of more 
elevating pastime. But his example is unhappily 
contagious. The Mussulmans of the Caucasus have 
long ago waived their scruples ; the Persians of 
Khorasan have been similarly seduced by Eussian 
importation, and it is to be expected that artificial 
restrictions will not save the more orthodox Sunnites 
of Bokhara from a like surrender. Already the Khans 
of Merv, habituated to European entertainment, sip 
their glass of vodka, and toss off their bumper of 
champagne. Where costliness does not intervene, 
the licence of an upper class is soon apt to become 
the law of a lower. Western civilisation in its East- 
ward march suggests no sadder reflection than that 
it cannot convey its virtues alone, but must come 
with Harpies in its train, and smirch with their 
foul contact the immemorial simplicity of Oriental 

Nevertheless in many respects the latter still re- survival 

/N i -IT i i i i f ancient 

mams intact. Customs and methods prevail which date customs 
from an unknown antiquity, and alternately transport 
the observer to the Bagdad of Haroun al Easchid and 
to the Hebrews of the Mosaic dispensation. In a low 
dark hovel I saw corn being ground by a miserable 
horse who, with blinded eyes and his nose tied to 


a beam overhead, was walking round and round a 
narrow circle, and causing to revolve an upper and a 
nether millstone below the surface of the ground. I 
saw cotton being carded by the primitive agency of a 
double bow, the smaller one being fixed to the ceiling 
and the larger one attached to its string by a cord, 
and struck by a mallet so as to cause a smart re- 
bound. One morning in the bazaar we observed a 
crowd collected in the street round a mounted horse- 
man, and presently howls of pain issued from the 
centre of the throng. It turned out to be the Eeis-i- 
shariat, a religious functionary or censor of morals 
an office which was revived a century ago by Amir 
Maasum whose duty it is to ride about the town, 
compelling people to attend the schools or mosques, 
and inspecting weights and measures. He was 
engaged upon the latter operation, and was com- 
paring the stone weights in a shop, which are often 
substituted for metal because of their cheapness, with 
the standard weight. The luckless shopkeeper, con- 
victed of fraud, was forthwith stripped bare in the 
street, forced to kneel down, and soundly castigated 
on the back with a leather thong whip, carried 
by the Keis' attendants. The features of the crowd 
expressed a faint curiosity, but not a trace of another 

Dr. It would be hard to exaggerate the part which 

eye er the manners and generosity of Dr. Heyfelder, who 

has now lived for nearly two years in Bokhara, have 

played in the pacification of this whilom haunt of 

fanaticism. As early as six in the morning people 


crowd into the Embassy to see him. Very often so 
childish is their faith that they do not ask for a pre- 
scription, but simply implore his touch. At first the 
women declined to unveil, would not allow him to feel 
their pulse, and only communicated with him through 
the medium of a male relative. Familiarity, however, 
is fast obliterating this suspicion. When the lately 
murdered Divan Begi was lying on his death-bed, and 
his life blood was ebbing away, he kept asking every 
few minutes for his doctor. The latter was unfor- 
tunately at a distance, and, owing to a block on the 
railway, could not come. A fat old Beg, he told me, 
came to him one day and said, ' Can you make me 
better? I suffer from eating four dinners a day.' 
' Certainly,' said the doctor ; < eat three.' Thereupon 
the old gentleman became very angry, and retorted, 
6 How can I eat less when I am called upon to enter- 
tain venerable guests ? ' When the young Amir 
came back from the coronation of the Czar in Eussia, 
Dr. Heyfelder asked him what he had liked best in 
that country. ' The lemonade and ice at Moscow,' was 
the ingenuous reply ; an answer which reminds one 
of O'Donovan's tale of the man who had been a ser- 
vant of the Persian Embassy in London for nine years, 
and who, having returned to his native land, said 
that his dearest recollections of the British metropolis 
were its corned beef and bitter ale. 

The object in which the doctor is specially inte- 
rested is the extirpation of the well-known Bokharan worm of*" 
disease, the reshta, or filaria medinensis, a parasite 
which cannot even now be better described than in 



the words of Anthony Jenkinson three hundred years 

There is a little river running through the middes of the 
saide Citie, but the water thereof is most unholsome, for it 
breedeth sometimes in men that drinke thereof, and especially 
in them that be not there borne, a worme of an ell long, which 
lieth commonly in the legge betwixt the flesh and the 
skinne, and is pluckt out about the ancle with great art and 
cunning ; the Surgeons being much practised therein, and if 
shee breake in plucking out, the partie dieth, and every day 
she commeth out about an inche, which is rolled up, and so 
worketh till shee be all out. 

So common is this malady in Bokhara, that every 
fifth person suffers from it ; and the same individual 
may be harbouring at the same time from two to ten, 
nay, from twenty to thirty, of these worms. Khanikoff 
even relates that he heard of a Khivan who had one 
hundred and twenty simultaneously in his body. 1 Their 
extraction is not difficult or dangerous, unless, as Jen- 
kinson said, part of the worm is broken off and left 
in the flesh, when suppuration and consequent risk 
may ensue. When extracted it is sometimes from 
two to three feet long, and has the appearance of a 
long string of vermicelli. A curious feature is, that 
the most minute examination of the drinking-water 
of Bokhara under the microscope has never revealed 
the reshta germ. Nor, again, has Dr. Heyfelder ever 
discovered or identified a male specimen. He is in- 
clined to think that the female, being oviparous, 
pushes her way to the surface of the skin when full 

1 Bokhara, its Amir and its People. By Khanikoff. Translated 
into English, 1845, p. 68. 


of young each reshta, upon dissection, being found 
to contain from half a million to a million embryo 
worms. Either the male dies after fertilisation, or 
the parasite is bisexual. The embryos, if occasionally 
dosed with a drop of water, will continue to live for 
six days. The doctor has made frequent efforts to 
obtain statistics from the natives both at Bokhara and 
Samarkand, as to the character, area, and probable 
causes of the affliction, but has failed to obtain any 
replies. It is by no means certain even that it is 
necessarily to be traced to the waters of the Zerafshan. 
Higher up the river it is more rare. At Kermineh 
it is quite an exception, at Samarkand it is only found 
when imported, and at Jizak, once a centre of the 
disease, it has been immensely reduced since the 
Eussian occupation and superintendence of the water 
supply. The filthy condition of some of the open 
pools at Bokhara is quite sufficient to account for its 
wide propagation in that place. One of the com- 
monest causes of reproduction is the shocking care- 
lessness of the barbers, who are the - professional 
extractors of the worm, and who throw down the 
living parasite, which very likely crawls away and 
multiplies its species a hundred-thousand-fold in some 
pool or puddle. Dr. Heyfelder would have a law 
passed that every reshta shall be burned upon ex- 
traction. The disease could, however, only be eradi- 
cated by a very stringent supervision of the water 
supply, and by the compulsory use of filters ; the 
latter being the means by 'which the Eussians, while 
constructing the railway, entirely escaped contagion. 




Among the prerogatives which are left to the 
Amir are the possession of a native army, and the 
insignia and retinue of an Asiatic Court. The former 
is said to consist of about 12,000 men (in Vambery's 
lime it was 40,000), but resembles an irregular 
gendarmerie rather than a standing army. I expect 
that its value, which might be guessed by analogy 


with the least warlike forces of the native princes in 
India, was very accurately gauged by General Koma- 
ro(l', Avlio smiled when I asked him if he thought 
the Bokharan soldiers were any good, and said, 'They 
are possibly better than the Persians.' It is quite 
laughable to hear, as we have recently done, of their 
being moved down to the Oxus to resist the Afghans. 
Their uniform consists of a black sheepskin shako, a 


loose red tunic with leather belt and cartridge-pouch, 
abundant pantaloons, and big leather boots. It is 
closely modelled on the Eussian lines, and includes 
even Eussian shoulder-straps. Each soldier is armed 
with some kind of musket and a sword; and the 
words of command, which were framed by a Cossack 
deserter named Popoff, who organised the army for 
the late Amir, are delivered in a mixture of Eussian, 
Tartar, and English. The men are said to be volun- 
teers, and while serving to receive pay equal to from 
1(M. to 20/. a year. There are also reported to be 
two squadrons of cavalry and ten pieces of artillery. 
The ideal of military efficiency in Bokhara seems to 
be limited to precision in drill, in which I was 
assured by some European officers that they are very 
successful. Every movement is smartly executed to 
the sound of a bugle, and the voice of the officers, 
whose uniform is fantastic and appearance contempt- 
ible, is never heard. There are some 150 signals, 
which it is not surprising to hear that it takes a man 
several years to learn. Where the British soldier is 
ordered to pile arms and to stand at ease, the 
Bokharan sits down on the ground. Some years ago 
the drill contained a movement of a most interesting 
character which has since been abandoned. At a 
given signal the soldiers lay down upon their backs, 
and kicked their heels in the air. This was copied 
from the action of Eussian troops in one of the earlier 
engagements, where, after crossing a river, they were 
ordered to lie down and shake the water out of their 
big top-boots. The retreating Bokhariots saw the 



manoeuvre, and attributed to it a magical share in the 
Itussiau victory. 

The Bokharan Court is still surrounded by all the 
p ()m p all( ] much of the mystery of an Asiatic regime. 
The Amir is treated as a sort of demigod, whom 
inferior beings may admire from a distance. No 


glimpse is ever caught of the royal harem. Batchas, 
or dancing-boys, are among the inseparable accessories 
of the palace, and represent a Bokharan taste as 
effeminate as it is depraved. An audience with the 
Amir is attended with much formality, and is followed 
on his part by an offering of gifts. No European can 
1)0 presented except in uniform or in evening dress. 


One of my companions, who was a relative of the 
Governor- General, having been granted an audience, 
found that he had not the requisite garments in which 
to go. Accordingly 1 had to rig him out in my 
evening clothes with a white tie and a Bond Street 
shirt. Etiquette further requires the presentee to 
ride to the palace on horseback ; and a more comic 
spectacle than an English gentleman in a dress-suit 
riding in broad daylight in the middle of a gaudily 
dressed cavalcade through an Oriental town cannot 
be conceived. At such moments even the English 
breast yearns for a decoration. When the audience 
is over a dastarkhan is served, one or more horses 
with embroidered saddlecloths and turquoise-studded 
bridles are brought in, and he 'whom the king 
delighteth to honour ' is sent home with a wardrobe 
full of brilliant khalats. 

The narrative of my experiences at Bokhara will Tendency 

111 i . . , . , to incorpo- 

110 doubt leave the same impression upon the minds 
of my readers as did their occurrence upon my own, 
viz. one of astonishment at the extraordinary change 
which must have been effected in the attitude and 
demeanour of the people during the last few years. 
If the accounts that were received up to that date 
about the hostility of the inhabitants be true, it 
amounts to little less than a political revolution. 
Whether this be due to a merely interested recognition 
of the overwhelming strength of Eussia, or to the 
skilful diplomacy of the latter, or, as General Koma- 
roff hinted to me, to the salutary and all-powerful 
influence of the rouble, it must equally be set down 


to the credit of the conquering power. The 
allegiance of the Amir may be considered as abso- 
lutely assured ; not only because a treacherous move 
would at once cosfchinLhis throne, but because Eussia, 
having possession of the upper courses of the Zeraf- 
shan, could cut off the water supply of Bokhara in a 
week, and starve the city into submission. 

What diplomacy began the railway is fast com- 
pleting. So mercantile, and, it may be added, so 
mercenary a people as the Bokhariots, fall ready 
victims to the friendly stress of commercial fusion. 
Native finance is itself an indirect ally of Eussia ; for 
gradually, as trade is developed, the 2-J- per cent. 
<jcZ valorem duty, both upon exports and imports, 
which is still levied under the terms of the Treaty of 
1873, as well as the heavy local taxation, amounting 
to nearly Is. fid. in the pound, exclusive of the tithe 
to the Mosque, which is exacted from the subjects of 
the Amir, as compared with those of the Czar, will 
operate as inducements towards a closer union. 

Looking forward into the future, I anticipate that 
Bokhara may still for many years remain a quasi 
independent State, but that the capital will gradually 
succumb to Eussian influence and civilisation, and 
that so in time a party may arise among the natives 
themselves agitating for incorporation. 

For my own part, on leaving the city I could not 
^P re ji c i n g at having seen it in what may be de- 
scribed as the twilight epoch of its glory. Were I to 
go again in later years it might be to find electric light 
in the highways. The King of Korea has it at Seoul, 


a surely inferior capital ; the Amir of Afghanistan 
has it at Kabul ; then why not he of Bokhara ? It 
might be to see window-panes in the houses, and to 
meet with trousered figures in the streets. It might 
be to eat zakuska in a Eussian restaurant and to sleep 
iu a Eussian hotel ; to be ushered by a tchinovnik into 
the palace of the Ark, and to climb for fifty kopecks 
the Minari Kalian. Who can tell whether Eussian 
beer will not have supplanted tea, and vodka have 
supplemented opium ? Civilisation may ride in the 
Devil's Wagon, but the devil has a habit of exacting 
his toll. What could be said for a Bokhara without 
a Kush Begi, a Divan Begi, and an Inak without its 
mullahs and kalendars, its toksalas and its mirzabashi, 
its shabraques and tchapans and khalats? Already 
the mist of ages is beginning to rise and to dissolve. 
The lineaments are losing their beautiful vague 
mystery of outline. It is something, in the short 
interval between the old order and the new, to have 
seen Bokhara, w^hile it may still be called the Noble, 
and before it has ceased to be the most interesting 
city in the world. 




Towns also and cities, especially the ancient, I failed not to look upon 
with interest. How beautiful to see thereby, as through a long vista, into 
the remote Time ; to have, as it were, an actual section of almost the earliest 
Past brought safe into the Present, and set before your eyes I 

CARLYLE, Sartor Resartus. 

The Zerafshan valley Bokharan irrigation Danger to the city 
Possible reforms Population and fertility of the Samarkand 
district History of Samarkand Description of monuments 
renounced The Bussian town Modern public buildings 
Change wrought by the railway Absurd rumour of restoration 
to BokharaThe Citadel Zindan, or prison The ancient city 
Tomb of Tamerlane The Bighistan Leaning minarets 
Material of structure Samples of the best Arabian style Ruins 
of Bibi Khanym Shah-Zindeh Need of a Society for the Pre- 
servation of Ancient Monuments Sunset at Samarkand Bussian 
garrison Population Befuge of political exiles Journey to Tash- 
kent The Tarantass Stages of the route Buins of Afrasiab 
Bridge of Shadman-MelikGates of Tamerlane The Waste of 
Hunger The Syr Daria and approach to Tashkent Great fertility 
The two cities and societies Political banishment General 
Bosenbach and the Peace Policy Native Education Govern- 
ment House Public buildings Ancient or native city General 
Prjevalski and Lhasa Statistics of population- -Besources, manu- 
factures and commerce System of government Bevenue and 
expenditure Territorial expansion of Bussia. 

The BOKHARA is about 150 miles by rail from Samarkand, 

Zttrufshan , . , 

valley ana the only two important points en route are the 
Bokliaran fortress of Kermineh, which the railway 
skirts at a distance of five miles, and the Eussian 


frontier post of Katta Kurgan, where we enter the 
Zerafshan province, annexed by Eussia in 1868, after 
the war with Bokhara that resulted in the capture of 
Samarkand. A very wise step this was ; for the basin 
of the Zerafshan river, or Gold Strewer, the Polyti- 
metus, or Very Precious, of the Greeks, which extends 
for about 250 miles between parallel ranges of 
mountains, is a veritable garden of Eden, and incom- 
parably the most fertile part of Central Asia. 1 The 

1 I append the latest statistics relating to the Zerafshan river and 
basin, taken from a paper by V. Dingelstedt, published in the Scottish 
Geographical Magazine for December 1888, and based upon Russian, 
semi-official reports (Turkestanslcia Vedomosti, 1887, Nos.85 and 44 ; 
1888, Nos. 5, 6, 18, 14, 15. Middendorf Ocherki Fergliany, St. Peters'- 
burg, 1887. ' The total length of the Zerafshan, from its source to the 
lakes where it loses itself, is estimated at about 420 miles, of which 
the upper part for 286 miles belongs to Russian Turkestan, and the 
remaining, or lower part, to Bokhara. The basin which the river drains 
is estimated at about 14,875 square miles, of which 7,285 square miles 
are level, and 7,090 square miles are mountainous country, where the 
river excavates a deep channel, extracting the fertilising material which 
so much enhances its value. Some distance above Samarkand the 
river divides into two branches, the Ak Daria and the Kara Daria, 
which re-unite about thirteen miles below the town, near the frontier 
of Bokhara. Here is the intake of the principal Bokharan canal, the 
Karaman, which conducts away the greater part of the water remain- 
ing in the river after it has fed all the numerous canals in Russian 
Turkestan. During the rest of its course the river continually decreases 
in bulk, in consequence of the numerous canals that issue from it on 
the right and left banks alternately, and runs for about eighty miles 
preserving the name Zerafshan; but at Du-aba (Two Waters) the 
greater part of its water is diverted into the canal called Shah-rud, 
and the little that remains of the Zerafshan runs under the name of 
Kara Kul for about sixty-two miles in the direction of the town of Kara 
Kul. Two miles above the town the river breaks up into two arms, 
the Kara Kul and the Taghi-Kyr. Some twenty miles before reaching 
the Amu Daria, the now nearly exhausted but still muddy waters of 
the Zerafshan flow into the marshy lakes of Denghis, Sunghur, and 
Karanga, which have no outlet. 

' The level of the water in the Zerafshan is variable : it is lowest 
during winter and highest in July, the volumes in the two cases being 


country is laid out less frequently in fields than in 
orchards, producing grapes, figs, peaches, mulberries, 
apricots, almonds, plums, pomegranates, apples, and 
pears, and giving a return seven times more profit- 
able than that from agriculture. Branches of the 
Zerafshan, or canals dug from the main stream, form 
a network over the face of the land, upon which the 
eye traces their coiirse in lines of osier and willow, 
separating brilliant parterres of green. The wealth 
of this natural El Dorado is entirely water-derived 
and water-fed, and depends upon a system of canali- 
sation that is described by Arab historians as having 
prevailed unchanged in the ninth century A.D., the 
origin of which is fixed by many before the Christian 
era, and which by some has even been thought to vie 
in 'antiquity with the kindred system in Egypt. 
Bokharan I do not propose here to give a detailed account 
mgation ^ ^ e B o ] c } iaran irrigation works, because this is a 
subject that has already fully, and perhaps more 
properly, been dealt with in other works. Its most 
curious feature to the eyes of a stranger is the ex- 
tent to which, in spite of Eussian influence and 
a twenty years' possession, native tradition and 
methods are still pursued. The Russians made some 

as 1 : 20. The minimum discharge in December, January, and 
February is estimated at 1,000 to 1,300 cubic feet per second ; in June, 
July, and August, after the melting of the snows, the maximum is 
from 19,000 to 22,000 cubic feet per second. The mean discharge for 
the summer half-year is 14,810, and for the winter half-year 2,718, or 
for the whole year 8,764 cubic feet per second. This volume of water 
is employed in the irrigation (exclusive of the province of Ferghana) 
of an area of about 287 square miles, of which about 115 are in the 
province of Samarkand, and 172 in the Khanate of Bokhara. 1 


effort at first to remodel the entire system on more 
modern and scientific lines ; and a Eussian official, 
assisted by native experts, is still responsible for the 
province of Samarkand. On the whole, however, it 
has been found best to leave alone both the existing 
machinery, which depends in the last resort upon 
popular election by the cultivators of the soil, and the 
immemorial methods, which, though devised without 
scientific appliances or knowledge of hydraulics, have 
yet been conceived with extreme ingenuity and are 
passably adapted to fulfil their purpose. 1 In Bokhara 
this system leads to a good deal of abuse ; for the 
Mirab, or ' Lord of the waters/ who is appointed to 
administer the water supply of a particular district, 
is neither an engineer nor an expert, but commonly 
a Court nominee, who owes his selection to favourit- 
ism, and, like a Boman Verres, does his best to con- 
vert his tenure of office into a policy of insurance 

1 The official reports, however, before quoted, give a most unfavour- 
able verdict, and may compel the Russian Government to take action. 
They say : ' The construction of canals in the Zerafshan province, 
though not without some boldness both in design and execution, is 
generally defective ; the canals are tortuous, too numerous, and liable 
to burst and overflow. The intakes of the canals are simply cuttings 
in the banks, dammed up occasionally by very unsubstantial weirs of 
any fragile material near at hand. The cleaning and the general 
maintenance of the canals is most unsatisfactory, as they are allowed 
to be obstructed by rubbish of every kind. The whole system of irriga- 
tion is a very primitive one ; all the constructions to raise, dam, let 
out, carry, distribute, and gauge the water are of the most simple de- 
scription, and are built of materials close at hand, such as earth, fascines, 
stakes, branches, sand, gravel, and sometimes rough stones. The 
administration of the canals in Samarkand lies, as a rule, in the hands 
of deputies chosen by the people. There are many abuses which the 
Bussian Government is endeavouring to remove, but the whole question 
has proved as yet too complicated and delicate to be dealt with satis- 


against future contingencies. 1 Nevertheless it is said 
that the people most interested, viz. the cultivators 
of the soil, are satisfied, and that any attempt to en- 
force a different, even if a more technical, system 
would lead to mutiny. 
Danger to In the territory of Bokhara the extent of the 

the city ... J 

irrigation works may be estimated from the fact that 
the Zerafshan river has forty-three principal canals 
diverted from the parent stream, with a total length 
of not less than 600 miles, in addition to eighty-three 
similar main canals in the Samarkand province, as 
well as 939 branch canals conducted from them. 
The breadth of the canals varies from six to sixty feet. 
They are not straight, but sinuous and meandering, 

1 Vide the testimony of the same reports : * As regards the adminis- 
tration of natural as well as artificial water-courses in Bokhara, it is, 
notwithstanding the vital importance of water to the land, quite de- 
plorable. Not only are ability and knowledge wanting, but, what is 
worse, there are many persons interested, rather than otherwise, in 
retaining abuses and disorder, these being elements highly favourable 
to the exercise of arbitrary power. At the head of the water adminis- 
tration in Bokhara is placed the mirab, a powerful personage chosen 
by the Amir himself from his immediate followers, against whose de- 
cision there is no legal appeal whatever The mirab acts through 
pendjabegs, authorised to give orders in his name, and chosen out of 
the members of his own family. The people are represented by arbobs 
and their assistants jurnban, \vho are deputed by the proprietors of the 
soil (or rather occupiers, for there is no private property in land in 
Bokhara) to defend the interests of cultivators. In reality these depu- 
ties are simply tools in the hands of the administration ; they are con- 
strained to execute the orders of the mirab and his assistants, and it is 
only by means of bribery and astuteness that they can succeed in 
serving their constituents. In Bokhara, as compared with Samar- 
kand, abuse may be said therefore to reign supreme ; and the deficiency 
in the fall of the land, as well as the dependence on outside authori- 
ties, places the work in a condition which cannot but tell in a highly 
unfavourable manner on the state of agriculture, and on the sanitary 
condition of the country in general.' 


often forming ravines and gullies, and generally oc- 
cupying far more space than is absolutely necessary 
to conduct water. Any inequality of distribution 
is speedily rectified upon the frantic complaints of 
the suffering or imperilled districts ; and the more 
fortunate or better provided have their supplies 
temporarily arrested or curtailed for the relief of 
their destitute brethren. It is said, notwithstanding, 
that Bokhara, being lower down the stream than 
Samarkand, is the loser in any partition, however 
fairly carried out, and that owing to the steadily 
diminishing supply from the uplands, the oasis is 
being contracted, and is yearly ceding some of its 
fringes to the implacable encroachment of the dunes. 
Certain it is, that cities and oases within twenty miles 
of the capital have been so overtaken and destroyed, 
and that the sand-flood is advancing rather than re- 
treating. There are some who see in this movement 
a sentence of impending doom against Bokhara, and 
proclaim that the handwriting is already upon the 
wall. If those who live upon the spot take a less 
pessimistic view, it may be because they know that 
its realisation will not occur in their time, or that 
they have confidence, both in the schemes of forestry 
and water-storage which the Russians have to some 
extent taken in hand, and in the last emergency in 
the resources of science, to save them from so grim 
a consummation. 

Greater unity as well as competence of admiiiistra- Possible 
tion are reforms, apart from more economical and reorma 
scientific methods, which it is well within the power 


of Russia to introduce. A more equable system of 
land taxation would follow next upon the programme ; 
and from neither need any result, other than favour- 
able, be anticipated, while regard could be had in 
both cases to the prejudices and prescriptions of the 

The Samarkand district, which we now enter, 

tion and . .. . .. .. . 

fertility of contains, according to the latest statistics, upon an 
kanddiH- area of 24,184 square vcrsts, a population of 404,985 
inhabitants, of whom 452,844 are natives, 9,397 
Russians, 2,053 Jews, 81 Hindus, and 10 non-Russian 
Europeans. The bulk of the people, not congregated 
in the big towns, are engaged in agriculture or hor- 
ticulture. We may infer the marvellous fertility of 
the soil and the alluvial bounty of the Zerafshan 
from the fact that three crops are sometimes raised 
from the same plot in one year: (1) the winter crop 
of wheat, barley, rye, or clover, sown in November 
and reaped in the early spring; (2) the spring crop of 
maize, rice, sorghum, or cotton, sown in the spring 
and reaped in the early autumn ; and (3) the autumn 
crop of turnips, carrots, or millet, sown in September 
or October and gathered in November. Clover can 
be cut five or six times in the year. 1 Through 
scenery and amid surroundings of which these sta- 
tistics may have furnished, not a picture but an adum- 
bration, the traveller approaches the most famous 
and romantic city in Central Asia, Samarkand. 
Hmtory Of the history of Samarkand the Maracanda of 

kand mar " the Macedonians, the Samokien of the Buddhist pil- 

Unsere Zeit, October 1888. 


grim Hiouen Tsang, the Sinnar Margo of Sir John 
Mandevillc, the favourite and also the final resting- 
place of Timur, the capital, with 1 50,000 inhabitants, 
of Sultan Baber, the combined Athens and Delphi of 
the remote East I shall here say nothing. Whatever 
historical allusions have been justified in treating of 
other and less widely known places, are superfluous 
in the mention of a spot that has long been dear not 
only to the informed zeal of the student, but to the 
cultured intelligence of the world. 

Neither shall I feel justified in giving more than 

' fcioii of 

a cursory account 01 the great monuments that once 
made Samarkand the glory, and that still, in their 
ruin, leave it the wonder, of the Asiatic continent. 
They have in the main been so well and con- 
scientiously described in Schuyler's and other writings, 
and, beyond the march of further decay, have altered 
so little since their date, that were I to linger over 
details I might be convicted of recapitulating badly 
what had been excellently said before. The illustra- 
tions which are appended will give my readers some 
idea of their present condition ; while such remarks 
as I shall venture to make upon them will be the in- 
dependent suggestions of the writer's observation. 
The very purport of this book, already, I fear, some- 
what strained in the chapter upon the city of Bokhara, 
compels me to turn aside, with whatever reluctance, 
from the splendours of the ancient to the more 
modest but still appreciable attractions of the modern 

The present terminus of the railway at Samarkand 


The is a scene of great activity ; for the station buildings 
town and offices were, when I visited them, still in the 
hands of the masons and had not yet readied the first 
story. A broad but dusty road, the first metalled 
road I had seen east of the Caspian, planted on both 
sides with avenues of poplars, runs for a distance of 
nearly three miles to the Russian town. This is a 
delightful quarter, completely buried in trees, from 
which peep out the white fronts of low one-storied 
houses, and is intersected at right angles by boule- 
vards of enormous width overshadowed by lines of 
poplars and acacias, and bordered by rivulets of run- 
ning water. The principal street is planted with as 
many as twelve parallel rows of trees, on either side 
of the carriage drive, the footpaths, and the brawling 
streams. From an elevation no buildings are visible, 
and the Russian town might be mistaken for a 
thickly wooded park. From the earliest times this 
side of Samarkand has been celebrated for its wealth 
of trees and verdure, and for its sylvan retreats, the 
favourite residence in bygone days of Tartar nobles, 
just as they now are of Russian generals and colonels. 
In the tenth century Ibn Haukal left on record that 

There are here many villas and orchards, and very few of 
the palaces are without gardens, so that if a person should 
go to the Kohendiz, and from that look around, he would 
find that the villas and palaces were covered, as it were, with 
trees; and even the streets and shops and banks of the 
streams are all planted with trees. 

And in 1404, Don Ruy de Clavijo, visiting Samar- 
kand when at the height of its glory under Timur, 


wrote this interesting though perhaps insufficiently 
concise description : 

The city is surrounded on all sides by many gardens and 
vineyards, which extend in somo directions a league and a 
half, in others two leagues, the city being in the. middle. 
Among these gardens there are great and noble houses, and 
here the lord (i.e. Timur) has several palaces. The nobles of 
the city have their houses amongst these gardens, and they 
are so extensive, that when a man approaches the city he sees 
nothing but a mass of very high trees. Many streams of 
water flow through the city and through these gardens, and 
among these gardens there are many cotton-plantations and 
melon-grounds, and the melons of this ground are good and 
plentiful; and at Christmas-time there is a wonderful quan- 
tity of melons and grapes. 

Embowered here and there amid these agreeable Modern 
surroundings are to be seen modern buildings of 
some pretentiousness and importance. Of these the 
largest are the Governor's house, standing in a fine 
park ; the military club, similarly situated, and the 
Russian church with blue star-bespangled domes. 
There are also some public gardens containing a lake. 
A certain primness and monotony of appearance may 
perhaps be charged against the Russian Samarkand. 
But compared with other places I had seen it was 
almost a paradise ; and if life there be regarded as 
exile, at least it can be no insupportable burden. 
The climate is delicious, 1 the elevation above the sea 

1 The mean annual temperature of Samarkand is 16 (Reaumur) ; 
that of the hottest month is 30", and of the coldest month 0. The 
average rainfall is sixty days in the year, or double as many as at 



is considerable over 2,000 feet and there is a 
civilised socic! y. 

Here, however, as elsewhere, the railway is effect- 
n most ex! r:i( >nl \ ii n IT change. Tolerable though 
exist cure may have been at Samarkand under the 
old conditions, it was yet very remote, more re- 
mote even limn Tashkent, through which place it 
was commonly approached from the north. The 


post took nearly a mouth in arriving from St. Peters- 
burg. A telegram to Bokhara, only 150 miles 
distant, was obliged to describe a circuit of many 
thousands of miles by Tashkent, Orenburg, Samara, 
Moscow, and Baku, and verv likely did not reach its 
destination for days. A lar-oIT echo of the great 
world dimly permeated months afterwards to the 
banks of the Zerafshan. like the faint murmur in the 


hollow of a sea-shell. General Aimeukoff s railway 
has changed all this. It has completed the work 
which a twenty years' occupation had previously set in 
train. Already the old times, when a Bokharan Amir 
took his seat upon the Koktash, and when a desperate 
attempt was made to entrap and massacre the Russian 
garrison in the citadel, have lapsed from memory ; 
and the present generation of Uzbeg and Tajik can 
remember no other dominion but that of the 
Ouroussi, which has thereby acquired the stamp of 
eternal fitness, and become stereotyped in the 
fatalist's creed. Samarkand may be looked upon as 
absolutely Russian, if not in part European ; more 
Russian certainly than Benares is English, and far 
more European than is Peshawur. 

A rumour is from time to time circulated in the Absurd 

rumour of 

European newspapers that the Amir of Bokhara is 
about to apply to Russia for the reddition of Samar- 
kand ; and it has even been stated that this was the 
object of a complimentary embassy recently (March 
1889) sent by Seid Abdul Ahad to the Czar. It is 
true that years ago, before the Russian position in 
Central Asia was as stable as it has since become, 
and when the apprehensions of Europe required to 
be calmed, declarations were made by Russia of her 
intention to restore the city to its native rulers ; and 
as late as 1870 Prince Gortchakoff assured Sir 
Andrew Buchanan, the British Ambassador at St. 
Petersburg, that ' it was the desire of the Emperor to 
restore Samarkand to Bokhara ; but that there was 
some difficulty in ascertaining IIOAV this could b 


(lone without a loss of dignity and without obtaining 
guarantees for the welfare of the population which 
had accepted the sovereignty of Russia.' It is un- 
necessary to say that there never was the slightest 
intention of carrying out such an engagement, which 
if a Russian diplomat alone could have given, an 
English diplomat also would alone have believed. 
Still less is there any likelihood of such an absurdity 
now. Its revival is one of the colossal mare's nests 
discovered by the Russian Press. 

The citadel At the end of the street in which stands the 
humble lodgment that presumed at the period of my 
visit to call itself a Gastinitsa, or hotel, loom up 
against the sky the gigantic walls and leaning towers 
of the three big medresses facing upon the Righistan, 
or public square, of the city of Tamerlane. The two 
cities, ancient and modern, are, however, separated 
by a bare stony hill, once occupied by the fortress 
and palace of the sovereign. Its walls have now 
been almost entirely demolished ; and in their place 
are to be seen the trim outline and modern fortifica- 
tions of the Russian citadel. Within this building, 
which is entered by a drawbridge across a moat, is 
still preserved part of the Amir's former palace ; and 
here at the end of a court surrounded by an open 
colonnade l is to be seen, behind an iron railing, the 
Koktash, or coronation-stone, of the Timurid sove- 
reigns, the Central Asian equivalent to the West- 
minster slab from Scone. This celebrated object has 

1 There is an excellent illustration of this court on p. 199 of Mme. de 
Ujfalvy-Bourdon's De Paris a Samarkand (1880) ; as also an accurate 
map of Samarkand on p. 177. 


been elaborately described by Schuyler andLansdell. 
It is a mistake, however, to suppose that it always or 
has long reposed here. Timur's palace was some dis- 
tance away to the west ; and the Kolctaah was shifted 
to the citadel by one of the later Bokharan Amirs in 
this century. 

In another part of the citadel was the Zindan, or Zindan,or 


prison, where, at the time of the Russian occupation, 
a subterranean dungeon existed like those to which 
allusion has been made at Bokhara and Karshi. 
Prisoners were let down into it by ropes ; and the 
grooves which these had worn were visible in the 
stone lining of the top. How universal a method of 
punishment this has always been throughout the East 
may be illustrated both by the parallel of Jerusalem 
ill the seventh century B.C., when Jeremiah ' was let 
down with cords into the dungeon of Malchiah that 
was in the court of the prison ; and in the dungeon 
there was no water, but mire ; so Jeremiah sunk in 
the mire ; ' 1 and by that of Cairo under the Mamluks, 
where a similar pit, filled with vermin, and emitting 
noisome odours, was filled up in 1829 A.D. 

Beyond the citadel, and on the other side of a The 


slight valley, the native or ancient Samarkand covers city 
the slope of a broad elevation, and from a dusty 
wilderness of flat roofs lifts up the glories of its mighty 
college gateways, its glazed and glittering arches, its 
leaning minarets, and its ribbed and enamelled 
domes. On the right hand, above a garden of fruit- 
trees, emerges the cupola that overhangs the last 

1 Jer. xxxviii. 6. 



resting-place of the great conqueror himself. In the 
ccnl re of the landscape arc the three huge medresses 
or universities that frame the noblest public square 
in the world. On llie left are I lie portentous ruins of 
(he ///fW/ and mosque of Hibi Khanynt, the Chinese 
wife of Timur, and at a little greater distance is the 
exquisite cluster of mosques and mausoleums, raised 


in honour of a saint whose immolt< t dit^' is (expressed 
l>y the title of Shah Xindeli, or the Living King. 
A lew words may he permitted ahout each of these. 

The ( Mir Amir, or Tomb of Tamerlane, is both from 
the historic and the romantic point of view -the most 
interesting ruin of Samarkand. Here in 1405 the 
body of the conqueror, embalmed with musk and 
rose-water, and wrapped in linen, Avas laid in an 


ebony coffin, and deposited beneath the engraved 
tombstone that we still behold in the vault. The 
interest of travellers seems usually to have been con- 
centrated upon the upper chamber of the mausoleum, 
where, after the Eastern fashion, a series of cenotaphs, 
corresponding to the actual sepulchres below, are 
disposed upon the floor. The most noteworthy of 
these, covered with a block of greenish-black stone, 
said to be nephrite or jade, is that of Timur. The 
slab has evidently at some time been wrenched from 
its place and broken in twain ; though it is not certain 
whether the fracture is to be attributed, as the legend 
runs, to an attempted violation by Nadir Shah. 
Around the walls of the tomb chamber is a wainscot- 
ing of hexagonal slabs of stone, variously described 
by travellers as agate, jasper, and gypsum. The last 
designation is nearest the mark ; for they are of that 
species of alabaster, somewhat transparent in texture, 
but with an under-colour like the sea waves, that is 
frequently met with in Oriental countries, and is 
familiar to visitors in Algeria and Eg^ r pt. The 
original tiles and decorations have been stripped or 
have fallen from the upper part of the walls ; and, 
speaking generally, the entire fabric, which is in a 
sadly dilapidated and ruined condition, is disappoint- 
ing to those who approach it with artistic expecta- 
tions, and cannot be compared with the majestic 
sepulchres of the later Moguls in India, such as the 
mausoleum of Akbar the Great at Sikundra. Never- 
theless, the place has a certain attraction not perhaps 
unconnected with its lamentable decay. Though I 


do not pretend to understand the impulse that drives 
pilgrims in shoals to the graves of the departed great, 
yet there is something inspiring, even if it be a 
melancholy inspiration, in standing above the dust of 
one who was both a king among statesmen and a 
statesman among kings, whose deeds even at this 
distance of time alike astonish and appal, and whose 
monumental handiwork, still surviving around, a later 
and more civilised age has never attempted to equal, 
and has barely availed to rescue from utter ruin. 
The We next pass to the Righistan, or centre of the 

Bighifltan _ . . _ . 7 n . . 

town, and to its triple glory ot medresses, or religious 
colleges, those of Ulug Iteg, the grandson of Timur 
(1421), of Shir Dar, or the Lion-bearing (1601) so 
called from its bearing in enamelled tiles on its facade 
the Persian lion and of Tillah Kari, or the Gold- 
covered (1C18) so named because of the gilding that 
once adorned its face. I have hazarded the statement 
that the Righistan of Samarkand was originally, and 
is stijtt even iu its ruin, the noblest public square in the 
world. I know of nothing in the East approaching 
it m massive simplicity and grandeur ; and nothing 
in Europe, save perhaps on a humbler scale the 
Piazza di San Marco at Venice which can even aspire 
to enter the competition. No European spectacle 
indeed can adequately be compared with it, in our 
inability to point to an open space in any Western 
city that is commanded on three of its four sides by 
Gothic cathedrals of the finest order. For it is clear 
that the medresse of Central Asian Mahometanism 
is both in its architectural scope and design a lineal 



counterpart and forerunner of the minster of the 
West. Instead of the intricate sculpture and tracery 
crowning the pointed archways of the Gothic front, 
we see the enamelled tiles of Persia, framing a portal 
of stupendous magnitude. For the flanking minster 
towers or spires are substituted two soaring minarets. 
The central lantern of the West is anticipated by the 
Saracenic dome, and in lieu of artificial colour thrown 
through tinted panes, from the open heavens shine 
down the azure of the Eastern sky and the glory of 
the Eastern sun. What Samarkand must have been 
in its prime when these great fabrics emerged from 
the mason's hands, intact, and glittering .with all the 
effulgence of the rainbow, their chambers crowded 
with students, their sanctuaries thronged by pilgrims, 
and their corporations endowed by kings, the ima- 
gination can still make some endeavour to depict. 

Upon the structural features I shall confine myself Leaning 
to three observations. The minarets of all the me- 
dresses appear to be slightly out of the perpendicular, 
those of the college of Ulug Beg, which, as has been 
seen, is 200 years older than its fellows, conspicuously 
so. In a locality which has frequently been shaken 
by earthquakes, it surely needs no exceptional gifts 
either of acuteness or credulity to attribute to natural 
causes an irregularity so extravagant that no Oriental 
architect, whatever his taste for the unsymmetrical or 
bizarre, could ever have perpetrated it. And yet we 
find competent writers exhausting their inventive- 
ness in far-fetched interpretations. Schuyler says 
the inclination is an optical illusion. Mme. Ujfalvy 


attributes it to the skill of the builders. M. Moser also 
speaks of it as an architectural tour de force. Kres- 
tovski suggests a religious meaning. But Dr. Lansdell 
emerges triumphant from the competition of per- 
verse ingenuity ; for, having ascended one of the 
minarets himself, he proclaims the original discovery 
that there is no inclination at all ! l 
Material of Nowhere is the influence of country, of climate, 


and of natural resources upon architecture more no- 
ticeable than in the buildings of Samarkand. While 
the mildness and dryness of the atmosphere enabled 
the architect to dispense with many essentials of our 
Northern styles, on the other hand the poverty of local 
resources compelled him to go far afield for his decora- 
tion, and to be content with brick as his staple material. 
Persian artificers seem to have been almost exclusively 
employed upon the structures of Samarkand ; and the 
wonderful enamelled tiles by which they were em- 
bellished had in all probability been burnt and glazed 
in Persian ovens. What Eastern architects were 
accomplishing at the same time with richer means at 
their disposal, may be seen in the mosques and mau- 
soleums of the Mahometan conquerors of Hindostan. 
Timur, it is true, was antecedent by a century and a 

1 It is, however, in speaking of the medresse of Tillah Kari that Dr. 
Lansdell achieves his greatest masterpiece. He says (Russian Central 
Asia, vol. i. 587), * The wall of the Kibleh, or niche, where is supposed 
to be the Imaum (or image, called Miklirab^ that presents itself to the 
Moslem mind in prayer), is gilded. 1 Now, as everyone knows, in a 
mosque the Milirdb is the prayer-niche (corresponding to the Christian 
apse), the Kibla is the orientation of the niche, or direction of Mecca, 
and the Imam is the lay-reader or preacher, invited to read the lessons 
or to preach from the mimbar (pulpit) in the Friday service. 







half to his descendants Humayun and Akbar, whose 
glorious erections we see at Agra and Delhi. But 
the Shir Dar and Tillah Kari medresses were almost 
exactly synchronous with the fabrics of Jehangir and 
Shah Jehan, with the Agran tomb of Itmad-ud-Dow- 
lah, with the Pearl Mosque, loveliest of private chapels, 
in the citadel at Delhi, and with that most perfect of 
tributes ever raised to a lost love, the Taj Mahal on 
the banks of the Jumna. There, in the southern 
clime, amid the abundant wealth and resources of 
Ilindostan, the architect's taste was not satisfied witli 
anything short of marble and precious stones. Artists 
must even be imported from Europe ; and the luxu- 
riant elegance of Florentine detail is wedded to the 
august symmetry of Saracenic forms, 

Nevertheless it is in the magnificent simplicity Samples of 

fe l J the best 

and solemn proportion of the latter that the edifices Arabian 

11 t t style 

of Samarkand remain without a rival. Differing cir- 
cumstances in the different countries overrun by the 
Arabs the influence of previous styles, local and 
climatic conditions, the genius of individual masters, 
or the traditions of particular schools produced a 
wide variety of types, from the royal palace of Delhi 
to that of Granada, from the shrines of Shiraz and 
Meshed to the chapels of Palenno, from the mosques 
of Damascus and Cairo to those of Cordova and 
Kairwhan. In some places majestic outline, in others 
intricate detail, was the object or the achievement of 
the artist. Fancy was here subordinated to funda- 
mental canons, was there allowed to run riot in com- 
plicate involution. But it cannot be doubted that the 


true and essential character of the Saracenic style is 
expressed in grandeur rather than in delicacy, in 
chastity rather than in ornament. It was by the 
grouping of great masses, and by the artistic treat- 
ment of simple lines, that life. Arab architects first 
impressed their genius upon the world ; and in this 
respect no more stately product of their talent can 



anywhere he round than in the half-fallen monu-. 
ments of tlie city of Tamerlane. 

The remaining ruins 1 must dismiss briefly. The 
most imposing remains at Samarkand, in bulk and 
dimensions, are undeniably the inedresse and mosque 
of Hibi Khanynu the Chinese consort of Timur, whom 
the courtly Don liny designated as ' Cano, the chief 
Aviie of the (Jreat I.oi'd.' '.riievare said to have been 


erected respectively by the royal lady and her illus- 
trious spouse ; and it was this mosque that Timur 
caused to be pulled down as soon as it was finished, 
because the entrance was too low, and whose rebuild- 
ing he superintended with imperious energy from a 
litter. What these buildings once were we can only 
faintly realise by the aid of the colossal piles of 


masonry that still stand, and that tower above the 
other ruins of Samarkand as high as do the vaulted 
arches of Constantino's Basilica over the southern 
end of the Forum at Eome. The only perfect relic in 
the ruined enclosure is the vast rahle, or lectern, which 
stands on nine low columns in the centre and which 
once bore in its V-shaped cleft a ponderous Koran. 
This has survived, Ixvjiiise it is of marble instead of 



brick, and therefore was too heavy for any conqueror 
to transport, and too solid for any vandal to destroy. 
The remaining parts of the building are slowly and 
steadily falling to ruin ; and in time, unless steps are 
taken to arrest the process, will become a shapeless 
heap of bricks. 

shah The cluster of mosques and chapels with seven 

small cupolas, that bear the name of the Living King 
its eponymous saint having been a near relative of 
the Prophet, who was martyred here in early times, 
and who is supposed to be lurking witli his decapi- 
tated head in his hand at the bottom of a well, 
although with curious inconsistency his coffined 
body is also an object of worship in the same build- 
ing is both the most perfect and the most graceful 
of the ruins of Samarkand. A ruin unfortunately it 
is ; for domes have collapsed, inscriptions have been 
defaced, and the most exquisite enamelling has 
perished. But still, as we mount the thirty-seven 
steps that lead upwards between narrow walls, at 
intervals in the masonry there open out small re- 
cessed mosques and tomb chambers with faultless 
honeycomb groining, executed in moulded and 
coloured tiles. Gladly would I expatiate upon the 
beauty of these Samarkandian tiles turquoise and 
sapphire and green and plum-coloured and orange, 
crusted over with a rich siliceous glaze, and inscribed 
with mighty Kufic letters by which these glorious 
structures were once wholly and are still in part 

But it is more relevant to point out that beyond 


having patched up the most glaring traces of dilapi- NYM,,!-, 
elation and made a few attempts, with deplorable tiM-'iv- 

. Ht-ivatiou 

results, to replace destroyed ornament, the Imssians of Ancient 

i IT- , i Molm * 

have done nothing, and are doing nothing, whatever nu;nt8 

to preserve these sacred relics either from wanton 
demolition or from natural decay; and that, what 
with the depredations of vandals, the shock of earth- 
quakes, and the lapse of time, the visitor in the 


twentietli century may find cause to enquire with 
resentful surprise what has become of the fabled 
grandeurs of the old Samarkand. A Society for the 
Preservation of Ancient Aronmnents should at once 
be formed in Russian Central Asia, and a custodian 
should be appointed to each of the more important, 
ruins. But this is a step which can hardly be ex- 
pected from a Government which has never, outside 
of Russia, shown the faintest interest in antiquarian 


preservation or research, and which would sit still till 
the crack of doom upon a site that was known to 
contain the great bronze Athene of Fheidias, or the 
lost works of Livy. 
sunset While visiting the Shah Zindeh, I was the fortu- 

at Samar- 

n a te witness of one of those rare sunsets that are 
sometimes visible in the East, and which, though 
they cannot compete with the troubled grandeur of 
our Western skies, are yet incomparable in their 
tranquil glory. 

The northern outside wall of Shah Zindeh is 
bordered by a Mussulman necropolis, which is as 
lugubrious and desolate-looking a spot as cemeteries 
in Mahometan countries usually are. Broken pillars, 
displaced tombstones, and desecrated brick vaults 
litter the drab and dusty surface. As we stood in 
one of the elevated courts overlooking the boundary- 
wall, we observed a funeral proceeding on the other 
side. The corpse was brought up lying loosely on a 
kind of open bier which resembled a sofa, and was 
presently tumbled without much ceremony into a 
ditch which had been prepared in the sandy soil. 
There was a large attendance of mourners, all males, 
who appeared to take an inquisitive interest in the 
proceedings, but there was no show of grief or 
attempt at a service. Climbing still higher up the 
stairway, we emerged on the hill behind the tomb- 
chamber of the saint. The sun was just sinking : 
and it was one of those superb evenings only known 
in the East, when for a few seconds, amid a hush as 
of death, we seem to realise 

The light that never was on sea or land ; 


and then in a moment the twilight rushes down with 
violet wings, and all nature swoons in her embrace. 
In the short space of preternatural luminousness that 
preceded, the broken edge of the Penjakent mountains 
cut the sky like blue steel and seemed to sever the 
Zerafshan valley from the outer world. Inside the 
magic circle described by their lofty shapes a splendid 
belt of trees plunged momentarily into a deeper and 
more solemn green, contrasting vividly with the 
purple of the mountain background. The middle 
space was filled by the colossal arches and riven domes 
of Bibi Khanym, which loomed up above the native 
city in all the majesty and pathos of irretrievable 
ruin. Below and all around, a waste of grey sand- 
hills was encumbered with half-fallen tombstones 
and mouldering graves. Here and there a horsehair 
plume, floating from the end of a rickety pole, 
betrayed the last resting-place of a forgotten sheikh 
or saint. The only evidence of life was supplied by 
the horses of the mourners, themselves out of sight 
at the moment, which were picketed amid the waste 
of graves. Presently round the corner of the mosque 
emerged the long line of turbanod Orientals, grave 
and silent. Each mounted his beast without speak- 
ing a word and rode away. At that instant a band 
of turquoise blue seemed to encircle the horizon and 
to flush upwards towards the zenith, where light 
amber skeins hung entangled like the filaments of 
a golden veil. As these drifted apart and lost the 
transient glory; as the turquoise deepened into 
sapphire and died down into dusk ; as first the belt 


of trees and then the outer belt of mountains was 
.wiped out, a long cry trembled through the breath- 
less void. It was the voice of the muezzin from a 
neighbouring minaret, summoning the faithful to 
evening prayer. 

I was told on high authority at Samarkand that 
the Russian garrison consisted entirely of Cossack 
regiments, and amounted to a total of 10,000 men. I 
doubted this statement from the first, because of the 
absence of any sign of such large numbers and the 
lack of motive for keeping so powerful a force at such 
a place ; and my suspicions were subsequently justified 
by the discovery that there was only half that total of 
men, including but one Cossack regiment and three 
batteries of artillery. Here, as elsewhere, I found it 
excessively difficult to reconcile the conflicting utter- 
ances of my different informants, each of whom might 
have imparted correct information if he had been 
able or willing to do so. I say 6 able ' because I 
ended by forming the opinion that one of the com- 
monest features of Russian character is a constitutional 
incapacity for exactitude of statement. 

Population The population of Samarkand is estimated at 
about 40,000 persons, of whom the Europeans number 
6,000, while there are as many as 1,500 Jews. The 
bazaars struck me as greatly inferior in every way to 
those of Bokhara, and there was a marked contrast 
in many respects between the native life of the two 
cities, the one still independent, the other Russian for 
twenty years. In Samarkand the urban population, 
or Sarts, as they are here called, were much more 


humbly and shabbily dressed ; there was no evidence 
of wealth or dignity or leisure, and the street sights 
were generally squalid and uninteresting. Even the 
native bazaar has been thoroughly transformed under 
Eussian rule, large blocks of crooked alleys having 
been swept away to make place for broad boulevards 
converging from the different points of the compass 
upon the Righistan. In driving the latter in straight 


lines through the heart of the city, the Russians have 
been unconsciously following an example set them 
nearly 500 years a$o by their great forerunner 
Tamerlane ; for again we owe to the agreeable gossip 
of the Spanish Ambassador of King Henry III. of 
Castile the knowledge that ' The lord (i.e. Timur) 
ordered a street to be made through the city, pulling 
down all houses that stood in the line, a street very 
broad and covered with a vaulted roof, and windows 


to let in the light from one end of the city to the 

Refuge of Samarkand has, as I have indicated, more than 

exiles 5 * once been made the residence of important political 
refugees, whom it was to the interest of Eussia to 
conciliate, to watch, or to entertain. Abdurrahman 
Khan, the present Amir of Afghanistan, w T as here for 
many years, and during his residence married a slave 
girl from Wakhan, who had already become the 
mother of his two eldest surviving sons. His cousin 
Is-hak, the recent pretender, who had fled with him 
upon the triumph of Shir Ali, shared his exile at 
Samarkand, and returned in his company in 1880, 
receiving as the reward of his assumed fidelity the 
governorship of Afghan Turkestan. Both of them 
are said to have left Samarkand with a less favour- 
able opinion of their hosts than that with which they 
oame, and to have roundly abused the Russians after- 
wards ; though the attitude of Is-hak may be pre- 
sumed once more to have changed, now that he is 
again dependent upon their hospitality, and possibly 
expects in the future to be indebted to them for a 
throne. I could not discover that at the time of my 
visit there were any of these interesting exiles in the 
city, though a rumour denied as soon as uttered 
of the return of Is-hak to his old quarters was 
already in circulation. 

journey to While at Samarkand the chance was presented 
to me of making under the best auspices a visit to 
Tashkent. Though the distance between the two 
places is considerable 190 miles and can only be 


covered by road, I eagerly grasped this opportunity 
of forming even a slight acquaintance with the capi- 
tal of Russia in the East ; being anxious to observe 
the visible effects of a dominion that has now lasted 
for over twenty years, to acquaint myself with the 
ideas that are rumoured to prevail in its military 
circles, and to contrast its Court life and etiquette 
with the analogous British regime at Calcutta. I 
also wished to form some opinion as to the feasibility 
of an extension of the Transcaspian line from the 
Zerafshan province into Turkestan. 

It was not till I was well on my way to Tashkent The 
that I realised how great, from the most selfish and anm as 
personal point of view, the advantages of that railway 
had been. The luckless traveller condemned to the 
amenities of a tarantass across the Golodnaya, or 
Famished Steppe, hankers after the second-class car- 
riages of General AnnenkofF as eagerly as did the 
Israelites in similar surroundings after the flesh-pots 
of Egypt. I know that it is the fashion of English 
writers to decry, just as it is of Eussians to extol, 
the tarantass ; but I must confess in this case to a 
full and honest share in the prejudices of my country- 
men. A kind of ramshackle wooden boat, resting on 
long wooden poles, which themselves repose on the 
wooden axles of wooden wheels this is the sorrowful 
and springless vehicle in which two of us were to 
travel 380 miles, and in which travellers have often 
covered thousands. There is one advantage in the 
fabrics being entirely of wood namely, that if it 
breaks down en route, as sooner or later it is perfectly 


certain to do, its repair can be effected without much 
difficulty. Too nicely pieced a structure would in- 
deed be unsuited to the conditions of Central Asian 
travel ; for the vehicle is required to ford rivers and 
cross deserts, now buried in mud, now plunging heavily 
through sand, to resist concussions, and to emerge 
from mishaps that would dislocate any finer piece of 
workmanship. The Russians have reduced to a 
science the subjugation of the tarantass by means of 
straw and mattresses ; but the less skilful Englishman, 
in the rough places where there is no road, is tossed 
about like a cork on tumbled water. Fortunately, 
the remaining difficulties usually associated with such 
a method of locomotion are here somewhat curtailed ; 
for there is a postal service along the road between 
Samarkand and Tashkent, with relays of post-horses 
at the various stations, placed at distances of about 
fifteen miles apart. A Podorqjna 9 or special order, 
must first be procured from the authorities. This 
entitles the traveller to a change of horses at each 
station ; though, even so, he is far from safe, for the 
intimation that all the available horses are tired or 
unfed or still feeding, which occurs from time to time 
with mathematical regularity, may compel him either 
to wait half a day in a grim post-house in the middle 
of an odious desert, or to hire whatever animals he 
can procure from any well-disposed rustic possessing 
a stable in the neighbourhood. The horses are har- 
nessed to the tarantass in a troika i.e. three abreast ; 
the middle horse between the shafts having its neck 
held tightly up by a bearing-rein attached to a high 


wooden arch rising above its head, while the outside 
horses are not even confined within traces, but gallop 
along in random fashion, with their heads, as a rule, 
looking inquisitively round the corner. A different 
driver, Tajik, or Uzbeg, or Kirghiz, each with unmis- 
takable physiognomy, mounts the box at each post- 
house, and at the end of his stage absorbs without 
either gratitude or protest a modest gratuity. 

The road to Tashkent is roughly divided into 

IT r> i 

three sections by the mountain defile known as the 
Gates of Tamerlane and the main stream of the Syr 
Daria or Jaxartes ; and the distances between its prin- 
cipal points are as follows : 

Samarkand to Jizak . . .65 miles 
Jizak to Tchinaz . . .88 
Tchinax to Tashkent . . .42 

Total . . 100 

Our outward journey occupied thirty hours, in- 
cluding halts at the post-stations ; the return journey, 
upon which we suffered from scarcity of horses, thirty- 
six. Russian officers, travelling at the maximum rate 
of speed, have covered it in twenty-four and even in 
twenty-two hours. 

Leaving Samarkand on the north-east, we skirt Ruins of 

* Afrasiab 

the hill Tchupan-Ata once crowned by the great 
observatory of Ulug Beg, but now by the white- 
washed tomb of a local saint and pass at no great 
distance from the mass of crumbling tumuli and 
mounds that mark the site of an ancient city, associ- 
ated with the legendary hero Afrasiab, and supposed 
to have been the predecessor of the Maracanda 


of the Greeks. Heaps of rubbish arid the accu- 
mulations of centuries cover an immense extent, 
not unlike the ruins of Fostat or Old Cairo. Excava- 
tions have been pursued in a half-hearted and dis- 
jointed fashion by the Eussians, but no deliberate or 
scientific effort has been made to explore whatever 
secrets of the past and they must be manifold and 
important the ruins of Kaleh-i-Afrasiab can tell. 
This is ono of the many chances of the future. 
Bridge of After traversing a succession of gardens and 

Slmdman- " 

orchards, we come at the distance of a few miles 
from Samarkand to the fords of the main stream of 
the Zerafshan. It courses swiftly along over a very 
stony bed, and was divided at this season of the year 
into four or live channels, of which none were over 
a foot and a half in depth. The space between its 
banks is, however, several hundred yards in width ; 
and in summer, when the snows in the mountains 
melt, is for a short time filled by a raging torrent. 
Hard by are the ruins of two stupendous arches, 
meeting at an obtuse angle, which are called Shadman- 
Melik by the natives, and which tower magnificently 
above the attenuated volume of the autumnal stream. 1 
Nothing is known of the authorship or date of these 
huge remains ; but it is conjectured that, placed as 
they are close to the spot where the Zerafshan divides 
into two main streams the Ak Daria or White Eiver, 
and the Kara Daria or Black Eiver they originally 
bridged the two channels at the angle of bifurcation. 
Near the Zerafshan in this quarter are several 

1 For an illustration of them vide De Paris a Samarkand, p. 172. 


hundreds of acres that have been planted as a nursery 
garden by the Bussians, and where are grown vines 
(of which there are no less than sixteen varieties in 
the country), acacias, and ilanthus. 

Upon the other side of the river vegetation Gates of 

. . Tamerlane 

dwindles and finally disappears, and for many miles 
we proceed between the low hills of the Pass of Jilan- 
uti, culminating at the northern end in a rocky portal 
where many a bloody conflict has been waged for 
the possession of the Zerafshan valley. The boastful 
record of two ancient conquerors is deeply incised 
on the smoothed face of the rock of Ulug Beg, 
victorious in 1425, and of Abdullah Khan of Bokhara, 
Anthony Jenkinson's host, in 1571, when the inscrip- 
tion records that he slew 400,000 of the enemy, so 
that blood ran for a month in the river of Jizak. 
Very like in character, and not unlike, though less 
rugged in surroundings, are these sculptured trophies 
to the celebrated inscription of Trajan above the Iron 
Gates of the Danube in Europe. In spite of the deeds 
and names it commemorates, the Central Asian defile, in 
characteristic deference to the overpowering prestige 
of a single name, is known as the Gates of Tamerlane. 

Not many miles f beyond is the extensive but The Waste 
straggling town of Jizak, with a population of 4,000, unger 
the mouldering walls of whose former citadel serve 
as a forlorn reminder of the Eussian victory of 1866. 
Then ensues the Waste of Hunger, very properly so 
called, for a more starved and sorry-looking region it 
would be difficult to conceive ; and as the tarantass 
goes bumping along, with the bells hung in the high 


wooden arch over the central horse's head jingling a 
wild discord, and the dust rolling up in suffocating 
volumes, the traveller too is very hungry for the end to 
arrive. He can draw but little repose or consolation 
from his halts at the post-houses, where a bare wait- 
ing-room with wooden tables and uncovered settees 
is placed at his disposal, and whose culinary resources 
do not rise above the meagre level of a cup of tea and 
a boiled egg. Any other or more extravagant rations 
lie must bring with him. 
The Syr At length we reach the Syr Daria, or Jaxartes, 

Dariu and . . . 

approach the second great river ot Central Asia, terminating at 
kent present, like its greater brother the Oxus, in the Aral 
Sea. The channel here appeared to be over a quarter 
of a mile wide, and flowed along with a very rapid 
ochreous current. Our vehicle was driven bodily 
on to a big ferry boat, worked by the stream, and 
attached to a chain, the ferry being commanded by a 
fort on the northern bank. Here is the Kussian town 
of Tchinaz, at a distance of three miles from the old 
native Tchinaz, which was taken in 1865. Then ensues 
another spell of dusty . rutworn desert ; and our 
vehicle selects this opportune moment to discard one 
of its wheels. But patience is at length rewarded ; 
tall snow-capped mountains, which mean water, which 
in its turn means verdure, rise into view ; we enter 
the valley of the Tchirtcliik and its affluents, twenty- 
five miles in width ; and amid the sound of running 
water, and under the shade of broad avenues of trees, 
forty miles after leaving the Syr Daria we approach 
the suburbs of the capital of Turkestan. 


By the suburbs of Tashkent I need not refer to Great 

. . fertility 

the environs only ; for in reality the Russian town is 
one vast suburb, in which the houses stand apart 
amid trees and gardens interspersed with open spaces. 
The meaning of the name is 4 city of stone/ a lucus a 
non lucendo title as far as either the Russian, or the 
native town, is concerned, though whether it applies 
more strictly to the ruins of old Tashkent, twenty 
miles away, I cannot say. The size and height of 
the trees, principally poplar, acacia, and willow, with 
which the streets of the new town are planted in 
double and even in quadruple rows, and which are of 
course only twenty years old, give a fair indication of 
what irrigation and this superb climate when in part- 
nership can do. A shoot has simply to be stuck 
into the ground, and the rest may safely be left to 

Tashkent is a very lame city, for it covers an area The two 

_ . fo J cities and 

as extensive as Pans, though with a population, not societies 
of 2,500,000, but of 120,000, of which 100,000 are 
congregated in the native or Sart quarter. The 
Russian civil and military population are computed 
at the same figure, 10,000 each, and so large are the 
enclosures or gardens in which the houses stand 
apart that the majority of the residents would seem 
to have attained the ideal of Arcadian bliss expressed 
elsewhere in the historical phrase, ' Three acres and a 
cow.' A valley bisects the two portions of the town, 
native and European, which are as separate in every 
particular as are the lives of the double element in 
the population, neither interfering nor appearing to 


' v hold 'communication with the other. In the capitals 
of India, at Bombay, Calcutta, and Madras, there "is 
far greater fusion, both in private and in public life 
the Parsees at Bombay, the resident princes and 
noblemen at Calcutta, and the most influential native 
merchants in all three, mingling habitually in Anglo- 
Indian society, and taking a prominent part, in some 
cases in government, in others in the management of 
public institutions. In Tashkent, on the other hand, 
several obstacles preclude a similar amalgamation 
the purely military character of the administration, 
the dearth of any wealthy or capable men among the 
natives, and the recency of the Eussiaii conquest. I 
remember once reading the remark that ' In Eussia 
the discipline of the camp is substituted for the order 
of the city ; martial law is the normal condition of 
life ; ' and of no Eussian city that I have seen did this 
strike me as more true than of Tashkent. Uniforms 
are everywhere, parade-grounds and barracks abound, 
the extensive entourage associated with a great admin- 
istrative centre is military and not civil in character. 
It is hardly surprising that under such a system 
practical or far-seeing projects for commercial and 
industrial development should not be forthcoming; 
that the fiscal balance should be habitually on the 
w#png side of the budget ; or that Chauvinistic and 
aggressive ideas should prevail. Where the ruling 
class is entirely military, and where promotion is slow, 
it would be strange if war, the sole available avenue 
to distinctipn, ;were not popular. . 

Tashkent is, perhaps, less than it used to be, the 


refuge of damaged reputations and shattered fortunes, Political 
whose only hope of recovery lay in the chances mm* 
afforded on the battlefield. But it is still the com- 
pulsory place of exile to which the young spend- 
thrift and the veteran offender are equally consigned, 
the official purgatory following upon the Emperor's 
displeasure. One of the principal houses is inhabited 
by a Grand Duke, a first cousin of the Czar, who is 
said to be a very mauvais sujet. He married the 
daughter of a police-officer at Orenburg, and is re- 
ported to drink and to beat his wife. The exile of 
this degenerate scion of royalty is understood to be 

I have already, in an earlier chapter, spoken of the General 
rumours that had prevailed in the military circles of and a peace 


Tashkent, shortly before my visit, of an impending 
invasion of Afghanistan. It is therefore with pleasure 
that I record the fact that the present Governor- 
General (General Eosenbach), whose hospitality I 
was fortunate enough to enjoy, bears a very different 
reputation having, it is said, been appointed by the 
present Emperor to create a diversion from the ad- 
venturous policy of his predecessors, Kaufmann and 
Tchernaieff, and in order to develop more carefully 
the moral and material resources of the country. If 
I may judge from the general's own words, it is in 
the latter object that he has himself been principally 
interested. For he spoke to me of the enormous 
growth in the produce of cotton, the export of which 
from Tashkent has multiplied twenty-five-fold in the 
last five years ; and when, mindful of the old charge 



that the Russians have done nothing to improve the 
mental and moral condition of the subject population, 
I enquired whether any steps had been taken to open 
schools for the natives, he informed me that four 
such schools had been started in Tashkent, with an 
attendance of from thirty to forty at each, though at 
present the natives exhibit no great desire to learn, 
and that similar institutions had been started in 
Khokaud, Hodjent, Katta Kurgan, and Samarkand. 
He also told me that an infirmary had been opened 
for native women in the capital, and was largely 
resorted to by them. Differing from Mr. Schuyler, 
who wrote that 4 Tashkent is not a manufacturing nor 
an agricultural centre, nor is it a trade centre,' he 
regarded his capital as the natural and physical 
nucleus of Central Asian trade, and did not anticipate 
that its supremacy would be endangered by the 
greater advantages now enjoyed by Samarkand. 
General Rosenbach has now been for four years in 
Turkestan; and while I was there was said to be 
likely to leave for some less onerous post in Russia. 
.1 fancy, however, that his own inclinations would, 
and I am confident that public interests should, 
induce him to devote a somewhat longer time 
to the further development of this still backward 

Native Touching Russian schools for the natives, I may 

supplement what the general told me by the follow- 
ing facts. It was in December 1884 that the first of 
these schools was opened in native Tashkent, forty 
children being selected from the best Sart families to 


profit by the preliminary experiment. This was so 
successful that two other schools were soon opened, 
while many Sart families began to employ Russian 
teachers. By 1886, eighteen such schools had been 
started in Russian Central Asia : a satisfactory 
though a modest beginning compared with the 4,000 
educational institutions of the Moslems. It has since 
been suggested that a Russian class should be added 
compulsorily to the latter, which are already richly 
endowed by the Vakiifs of deceased benefactors, so as 
to precipitate the desired Russification of the native 
peoples. 1 

Benefiting by the hospitality of Government Govern- 
House, I had some opportunity of observing the style House 
in which the Yarim Padishah, or Half-King, as he is 
described in Central Asia, represents the Imperial 
Government. Schuyler, in his book and in the re- 
port which he penned for the American Government, 
drew a vivid picture of the state kept up by Kauf- 
mann, who never went out without an escort of 100 
mounted Cossacks, who permitted no one to sit down 
in his presence, and whose return to Tashkent was 
always signalised by triumphal arches and the firing 
of cannon. General Rosenbach has very different 
ideas ; and the Government House menage is now 
pushed to the extreme of simplicity an example 

1 M. S^m^noff, in the article before quoted from the Proceedings of 
the Russian Imperial Geographical Society for 1888, says that the 
Russian schools were at first only attended by the poor, but that they 
are now patronised by the richest native families. He also mentions 
the medical dispensaries for the natives at Tashkent. Vaccination is 
there performed, the lymph being furnished by the patients. 


which, while its effect upon the native population in 
immaterial, there being no class of sufficient impor- 
tance to be dazzled by a show, is unquestionably 
of great service to the Russian military circles, in 
which the most reckless extravagance used formerly 
to prevail. Madame de Ujfalvy-Bourdon in her book 
spoke of Government House as ' a veritable palace, 
with a truly splendid interior, which could not be 
surpassed in any capital in Europe ; ' but I fancy that 
her faculty of perspective must have been temporarily 
disorganised by the prior experiences of a tarantass 
and the Kirghiz Steppes. As a matter of fact, its 
furniture and appointments are almost jejune in their 
modesty. The only two large rooms, the ball-room 
and the dining-room, are practically unfurnished. 
There is no throne-room or dais; and the only 
emblems of royalty are the oil-paintings of the late 
Czar and his wife, and of the present Emperor and 
Empress, which hang upon the walls. The general 
is very proud of an ante-chamber or smoking-room, 
the panels and coffered cornices of which have been 
entirely carved and painted in Oriental style by Sart 
workmen, and upholstered with divans of parti- 
coloured Bokharan velvet. When he drivel out, his 
landau is drawn by a troika of three handsomely 
caparisoned horses, whilst the livery affected by his 
Tartar coachman is a black velvet cap with peacock 
feathers stuck in the brim. I cannot imagine a 
greater contrast to the state observed by the Indian 
Viceroy, who in a country famed for its lavish os- 
tentation, its princely wealth, and its titled classes, 


is obliged to support the style of a sovereign, who 
resides in a palace, the corridors of which are 
crowded with gorgeous figures in scarlet and gold 
liveries, \vho drives out accompanied by a brilliant 
escort, and whose levees are as rigid in their etiquette. 
as those of Buckingham Palace or St. James'. Behind 
the Government House at Tashkent extends a beau- 
tiful garden, in which a military band plays, and to 
which the public are admitted three times a week. 
It contains shaded walks and sylvan retreats, a re- 
spectable cascade formed by an artificial dam, and a 
pit for bears, which was kept filled by Tchernaieff, 
who had a craze for animals, until one of his pets 
nearly bit off the leg of a Kirghiz. In addition to 
this town residence, the Governor-General has a 
summer villa in the suburbs, corresponding to the 
Indian Viceroy's country house at Barrackpore. 

In the neighbourhood of Government House are Public 
the principal public buildings of the city, for the m mgs 
most part of an exceedingly plain and unpretentious 
character. A new cathedral had just been completed, 
and the detached bell-tower was about to receive its 
noisy inmate. The Eussians seem to have a passion 
for bells, perhaps derived from the ownership of the 
biggest bell in the world at Moscow. The form of 
the buildings is that with which Kussia had already 
made me familiar a low squat dome surmounting 
the centre with half domes abutting upon its sides. 
It contains a somewhat gaudy iconostasis, or altar 
screen, painted partly by amateur, partly by native 
talent. When I visited it, the choir, composed 



entirely of soldiers, was practising; no uncommon 
spectacle on liiissiaii soil, the Russians being pre- 
eminently a sinking people, singing at \vork and 
singing at play, and carrying with them into the 
steppes of Asia llic songs and slaves and choruses of 
Kurope. The older and no\v disused ealliedral 
stands a sliorl distance away. In a public garden 


near the road are situated the grave and monument 
of Kaufmann, the first Governor-General of Turkestan 
and founder of Eussian Tashkent, and a man possess- 
ing certain, though limited, attributes of greatness. 
The most pretentious building in the Eussian town is 
undoubtedly the Club House, upon which the most 
unnecessary amount of money was said originally to 
have been spent, and which contains an enormous 



circular ball-room, where dances are held on Sunday 
nights, and which would, I should think, accommo- 
date quite double the dancing population of Tashkent. 
These military clubs, with their billiards and gam- 
bling and Iheir weekly rein)i<>nx and balls, are a 
regular feature of liussian life in every town where 


troops are stationed ; they combine the advantages 
of an officers' mess with those of an English club and 
of a casino in a foreign town. Of the other buildings 
the principal are an observatory, a large military 
hospital, a theatre, and a museum of Central Asian 
antiquities, flora, fauna, and products, a colled ion 
which is still in its infancy, and stands in urgent 


need both of scientific arrangement and of funds. 1 It 
contains a number of prehistoric objects, found in 
the steppes, of old bronzes dug up at Samarkand and 
elsewhere, of specimen tiles from vanished mosques, 
and of stuffed birds and animals. Among other 
objects I saw a poor specimen of an ovis poll, and a 
preserved resltta, the horrible worm which is absorbed 
into the human system by drinking the water of the 
Zerafshan at Bokhara and elsewhere, and which I 
have already described in my last chapter. It re- 
sembled a thread of vermicelli, being a light yellow 
in colour, and when uncoiled must have been nearly 
a yard long. Attached to the museum at Tashkent 
is a library originally amassed for the Chancellery of 
the Governor- General, and containing the best collec- 
tion of works on Central Asia published since the 
year 1867 that is to be found in the world. Not 
only books and pamphlets, but even magazine and 
newspaper articles, are admitted to this collection, 
in which I am driven to think that these humble 
pages may some day repose. This library is sup- 
ported by a small subsidy from the state. It has been 
catalogued and arranged in chronological order 
by Mr. V. L. Mejoff, who continues to publish at 
St. Petersburg a series of volumes entitled ' Eecueil 
du Turkestan/ in which every addition appears 
duly chronicled, and w T hich is already the most com- 
plete bibliography of the Central Asian Question in 

1 M. Se'me'noff says that this museum ought to have been located 
at Samarkand, as offering a wider field for archaeological investigation, 
and as being less subject to earthquakes than Tashkent. 


I have devoted the greater part of my space to Ancient or 
describing the modern city of Tashkent, because it is 
as much the centre of attraction to a traveller with 
political interests as is the European in contradistinc- 
tion to the native quarter of Calcutta. Just the 
inverse was the case at Bokhara and Samarkand. 
The native or Sart city of Tashkent cannot, however, 
be altogether ignored, for it is three times as exten- 
sive as that of Samarkand, and contains as large a 
population as that of the whole of Bokhara. It was 
taken by storm by Tchernaieff with a force of only 
1,950 men on June 29, 1865. Since then the greater 
part of the old wall with its twelve gates has been 
demolished ; although, being situated on the opposite 
side of a ravine, it is still wholly separated from the 
Russian town. Its tightly packed population, divided 
into four quarters and forty wards, comprises a float- 
ing element of Kashgarians, Bokhariots, Persians, 
and Afghans, and a sedentary majority of Kirghiz, 
Tartars, Jews, Hindus, Gypsies, and Sarts, the latter 
being the generic title for an urban as distinguished 
from a nomad people. Viewed from above, as from 
the large recently restored mosque which overlooks 
the bazaar, we see nothing but an inclined plane of 
dusty roofs, the deartli of colour making it as ugly 
as are most Oriental towns from the panoramic point 
of view. The real interest arid individuality are con- 
fined to the streets and, could we but penetrate their 
interiors, to the houses. In a spectacular sense the 
bazaars are as interesting as any that I saw in 
ICentral Asia, for the Russians, while destroying much 



of the labyrinthine*, intricacy of the old trading quar- 
ter, in order to construct new streets and shops, have 
built these in strict conformity with the native 
style, the only difference being that more spacious 
shops open on f<> a broader street than the ordinary, 
the sun here and there finding a chink in the reed 
mailing spread on polos- overhead, and throwing a 



lance of light upon the variegated crowd below. The 
Jews, since the Russian, conquest, no longer suffer 
from the disabilities under which their fellow-country- 
men still labour at Bokhara. 

While at Tashkent 1 hoard that the well-known 
Russian explorer, (lonoral lYjevalskL with two other 
Russian ollioers. Lieutenants Roborovski and Koxlof, 
and M. Hogdanox itch, a mining engineer, had passed 


through the capital a few weeks before, and had 
there collected an escort of seventeen Cossacks with 
which he hoped to penetrate to the mysterious resi- 
dence of the Grand Lama of Thibet. This was the 
fifth semi-scientific semi-political expedition which 
the general had planned to the Thibetan interior ; 
and circumstances combined to make the present 
opportunity a more favourable one for reaching and 
obtaining admission to Lhasa than had ever yet oc- 
curred ; for with a little war between England and 
Thibet dragging its tedious length along, the Dalai 
Lama might find it politic to make a breach in the 
Chinese wall of exclusion by which his capital has 
hitherto been shut out from the world, in favour of 
the one nation whose rivalry with England might 
enable them to give him a substantial quid pro quo. 
Politics might easily be cloaked and disguised under 
the garb of science ; but few sensible men doubted 
that if General Prjevalski ever entered Lhasa, he 
would not leave it without some sort of treaty in his 
pocket. These speculations, however, were rudely 
dashed by the news which arrived a few weeks later 
that the intrepid explorer had died on his way at 
Verny, the Russian frontier town upon the borders 
of Kulja, from an illness which had doubtless been 
aggravated, if not caused, by the sufferings and hard- 
ships experienced in his earlier journeys. English- 
men of every shade of opinion will unite with Russians 
in deploring the loss of a man who deserves to be 
ranked with Livingstone and Stanley in this century 
as a pioneer of scientific exploration in an unknown 



of popula- 

and perilous continent. It has since been announced 
in the Eussian papers that he has been succeeded in 
command of the expedition by Colonel Pevtsoff, of the 
General Staff, and that the party were to start afresh 
in the spring. For the expenses of the expedition a 
sum of 7,0()0/. has been allowed. At the same time 
M. Joseph Martin, a French scientific explorer, is to 
proceed from Pekin in the direction of Eastern 
Thibet ; and the two parties hope to join hands at 
Lhasa in 1890. 

I append a number of statistics which may be 
found of interest. According to a return prepared 
by M. Kostenko, chief of the Asiatic Department of 
the General Staff of the Russian Army, the most recent 
figures of the population of Russian Central Asia were 
in 1885 as follows : 

Date of 




Russian acquisitions before 18G7 . 
Amu Daria ...... 



Transcaspia ...... 
Namangan ...... 

Ferghana, Alai, and the Pamir . 
PartofKulja . ". 
Merv, Tejend, Atek, Yuletan, Sarakhs, 
and Penjdoh . . . 

(Khiva .... 
n Turkestan j Bokhara .... 
\ Afghan territory l * . 



1 What the Afghan territory may bo, alluded to by M. Kostenko as 
subject to Russian influence, I do not know. He may allude to the 



Another table of statistics, published in the Eussian 
Journal of the Ministry of Finance in 1885, gave the 
population of Turkestan as follows, the figures being 
uniformly higher than those of M. Kostenko : 






Syr Baria 
Amu Daria 

Square Versts* 






Total . 





A still further increase is registered by the follow- 
ing figures, which appeared in the ' Moscow Gazette ' 
of May 1889 : Syr Daria, 1,214,000 ; Zerafshan, 
394,000 ; Ferghana, 710,000 ; Amu Daria, 133,630. 

In Eussian Central Asia there is only 1*8 inhabi- 
tant to every square verst, as compared with 19*3 in 
European Russia, 17*9 in Caucasia, and 71'4 in 
Poland, the most thickly populated section of the 
Empire. But Siberia is even more sparsely peopled, 
for there the proportion is only 0'4. The proportion 
of females to males in Central Asia is 90*2 to 100, as 
compared with 101*2 in European Russia, 87*9 in 
Caucasia, 93- 2 in Siberia, and 104 in Poland. The 
total population of the entire empire, in both conti- 

districts adjacent to the new Russo-Afghan frontier, or to Afghan 
Turkestan, or to the provinces on the upper Oxue. G enerally speaking, 
M. Kostenko's figures are below the mark ; and in the case of the Merv 
and Akhal Turkomans I have substituted later returns. We may 
roughly compute the present population of Turkestan and Transcaspia 
(including Khiva and Bokhara, which are effectively Russianised) as 

1 A square verst = '44 of a square mile. 


nents, for 1885 (the latest year for which the figures 
are available), was 108,787,235. 
Resources, From the report already quoted, and from other 


tutes, and sources, I derive the following information. Of 


152,500,000 acres in Turkestan, 70,000,000 are use- 
less either for pasture or cultivation, consisting of 
steppes, mountains, or sands ; 75,000,000 are avail- 
able only for pasture ; and of the remaining 7,500,000, 
5,000,000 are under cultivation, and 2,500,000 are 
prairie-lands. The principal cereals grown are wheat, 
rice, sorghum, millet, and barley. Among textile 
products, cotton occupies the first place, flax and hemp 
the second and third. Kitchen gardening is widely 
extended, particularly for melons and potatoes. The 
mean annual production of the cultivated lands in 
thousands of ponds is as follows: Wheat, 17,000 ; rice, 
10,000 ; sorghum, 8,800 ; millet, 5,400 ; barley, 3,100; 
other cereals, 3,000 ; total, 47,900. The nomads of 
the Syr Daria and Amu Daria districts raise annually 
3,000,000 pouds of corn. The cotton crop of the 
districts of Zerafshan, Kuraminsk, and Khojent is 
estimated at 400,000 pouds, of Ferghana at 150,000 
pouds. Over 1,500 acres have been planted with 
American cotton. In the mountainous regions horti- 
culture is^extensively pursued, and occupies an area 
of 250,000 acres, the principal fruits being vines, 
apples, pears, cherries, plums, mulberries, and nuts. 
The dried fruits of Turkestan are sent to the most 
remote districts of Siberia and to the southern parts 
of Eussia. Sericulture is one of the main branches 
of industrial occupation, the figures of annual produce 


being as follows : Ferghana, 15,000 pouds ; Zerafshan, 
10,000 ; Khojent, 3,000 ; Tchimkent and Turkestan, 
2,000 ; Bokhara, G0,000 ; Khiva, 3,000 ; Kasligar, 
10,000 ; total spun-silk from Central Asia, 103,000 
pouds, which, at the price of 125 roubles the poud, 
gives an annual revenue of nearly 13,000,000 roubles 
(1,300,00()/.). The figures of cattle in Turkestan are 
as follows: Sheep and goats, 4,810,000; horses, 
645,000 ; camels, 382,200 ; horned cattle, 525,000 ; 
total 6,362,000. The fisheries at the mouth of the 
Sj r r Daria and in the Aral Sea bring in an annual 
revenue of about 10,000^., the sale of skins and furs 
55,000/. The mineral riches of Turkestan are not 
yet properly developed, with the exception of some 
coal-mines in the neighbourhood of Khojent, which 
produce about 750,000 pouds of coal a year. A 
Eussian engineer, sent to Central Asia on a special 
scientific mission, has recently (1889) reported that 
the oil-wells at Penjakent, near Samarkand, contain 
at least nine billions of pounds of perfectly pure oil. 
Factories and workshops for native manufactures have 
greatly increased, and present the following figures : 
Syr Daria district, 720 workshops, 3,000 artisans, 
140,000/. annual produce ; Ferghana, 420 workshops, 
2,000 artisans, 80,OOOJ. produce; Zerafshan, 520 work- 
shops, 1,000 artisans, 60,000/. produce ; Amu Daria, 
two workshops, fifty artisans, 5,000/. produce ; total, 
1,662 workshops, 6,050 artisans, 285,000. produce. 
The most important manufactories, belonging to the 
Eussians, are forty in number, including twelve dis- 
tilleries of brandy with an annual revenue of 50,00()/., 


five tobacco factories, four of leather, two for the 
cleaning of cotton, one of oil, and one of glass. 

Among the numerous small native manufac- 
tures, the principal are the spinning and weaving of 
silk. The small workshops in Ferghana turn out more 
than 100,OOOJ. worth of silk, and about 30,000/. of 
cotton stuffs. From private dwellings nearly 400,000 
yards of home-spun cotton are supplied to the army. 
There is also a considerable production of carpets and 
woollen stuffs. It is impossible to give exact figures 
of the commerce of Turkestan. The volume of yearly 
trade in the three principal towns of Tashkent, 
Khokand, and Samarkand has been estimated at 
1,000,0002., but this estimate is far below the actual 
total. The relative shares were (in 1881) apportioned 
as follows : 

Export Trade from Turkestan. 

To the Fair of Nijni Novgorod . . . .500,000 

Irbit 50,000 

Krestovski 50,000 

To the Fairs of the Steppes 100,000 

Orenburg and Orsk 130,000 

Troitsk 100,000 

Petropavloak 50,000 

Somipalatinsk and Semirechinsk . . . 100,000 

Total .... 1,080,000 

Import Trade to Turkestan. 

From Orenburg and Orsk 550,000 

Troitsk 200,000 

Petropavlosk 150,000 

Semipalatinsk and Semirechinsk . . . 100,000 

t the Fairs of the Steppes .... 200,000 

Total .... 1,200,000 


The export trade from Turkestan to the Khanates 
of Khiva and Bokhara and the Chinese possessions 
in Kashgaria was, in 1884, 600,0001., the import trade 
550,()00/. Between 18GG and 1885 the commerce of 
Turkestan was doubled. Among Russian articles 
exported to Turkestan, the principal are woollen and 
cotton tissues, leather, hardware, and trimmings fin- 
clothing. Turkestan retaliates principally with cattle, 
and with about 100,0001. worth of tea from 

In 1886 a decree was promulgated, ordaining a System of 


new administration of the government of Turkestan, mcnt 
which came into operation on January 1, 1887. Under 
this system the country is divided into three provinces, 
the Syr Daria and Amu Daria districts, Ferghnna, 
and Xerafshan, administered by military governors 
with extended powers, and subdivided into fifteen 
sub-districts, in which administrative and police, 
powers are assigned to district chiefs, and which sub- 
districts are further partitioned into small areas con- 
trolled by commissioners of police. The general 
legislation of the Empire is only applied in Turkestan 
to Finance, Education, and the Postal and Telegraphic 
Service. In other departments important deviations 
have been introduced, particularly in those of Justice, 
the Land Laws, and Taxation. There are two kinds 
of Tribunals, those in which Russian law prevails, as 
in the rest of the Empire ; and popularly elected local 
benches, possessing jurisdiction only over natives for 
petty offences and in insignificant civil cases, and 
adjudicating according to native custom. As regards 


the agrarian system, hereditary proprietary rights, 
where consecrated by long usage, have been recognised 
in the case of sedentary rural populations. Unoccu- 
pied lands and virgin forests are appropriated by the 
state, but are commonly left in the temporary occupa- 
tion of nomads, enjoying absolute proprietary rights 
over their buildings and fixtures. Land transfer 
among the natives is determined by local custom, 
between natives and foreigners by the written law. 
Allotments of state lands, up to a maximum of twenty- 
five acres, are made to Russian soldiers belonging to 
the Reserve. The sedentary population pay a land- 
tax to the Government, the nomads a house or tent- 
tax of four roubles per Kibitka. The land-tax is as- 
sessed as follows : ten per cent, on the gross pro- 
duce of lands under artificial irrigation, fixed for a 
period of six years; and ten per cent., fixed yearly, 
on the net profits of cultivation of unirrigated 
Revenue I have been unable, in spite of efforts, to procure 

and ox- . . . 

penditure before going to press the latest statistics of revenue 
and expenditure in Turkestan. In the face of a con- 
tinued deficit and in the absence of parliamentary con- 
trol, the Russians are not anxious to publish figures 
that might give the enemy occasion to blaspheme. 
There is little doubt that ever since the annexation 
they have only worked their Central Asian provinces 
at a loss. General Kuropatkin admitted that in the first 
ten years, from 1868-1878, the total deficit amounted 
to 6,700,000/. the expenditure on civil administra- 
tion having been 2,400,000/., and on military admini- 


stration 7,500,00(M. (a significant proportion) ; while 
the returns in revenue from the country amounted 
only to 3,200,000/. To what extent the second 
decade has recouped Eussia for the sacrifices of the 
first it is impossible exactly to ascertain ; but we are 
hazarding no risky assumption if we believe, that the 
balance is yet very far from being wiped out. 1 

As I am upon figures, I add the following, which Territorial 

. . expansion 

give some idea ot the enormous territorial expansion of Russia 
of Russia, in Europe, and still more in Asia. At the 
accession of Peter the Great in 1G82, the Russian 
Empire covered 1,696,000 square miles in Europe, 
3,922,000 in Asia. At his death in 1725 the figures 
were 1,738,000 in Europe, and 4,092,000 in Asia; 
while the total census was then only 14,000,000. 
At the present date the extent is 2,110,436 square 
miles in Europe, and 6,451,847 in Asia, or a total of 
8,562,283 square miles (of which 94,535 have been 
acquired since 1881 ) ; while the census, which in 1885 
fell just short of 109,000,000, is said now to be nearer 

1 M. Semenoff says that the Turkestan budget now shows an annual 
surplus of 200,OOOZ. of receipts over expenditure, not including the cost 
of the army and military administration. This shows how serious the 
deficit must still be. 




There were his young barbarians all at play. 

__ BYBON, Childe Harold. 

Extension to Tashkent Its advantages - Bourdalik and Karshi Line 
Tcharjui and Kcrki brancli Herat extension Merv and Penjdeh 
l)ranch Proposed junction with the Indian railway system 
Grave drawbacks (i.) Fiscal, (ii.) Political Favourable estimate 
of the Transcaspian Railway Possible strain in time of war 
Political effects of the railway Absorption of Turkomania Influ- 
ence upon Persia Increased prestige of Russia Commercial 
effects Annenkoff's prophecies Commercial policy and success 
of Russia Russian economic policy of strict protection Its 
operation in Central Asia Russian trade with Afghanistan 
Imports and exports Anglo-Indian transit trade British trade 
with Afghanistan Quotation from Foreign Of lice Report Rus- 
sian monopoly in Northern Persia and Khorasan Destruction 
of British trade with Northern Persia Commercial future of the 
Transcaspian Railway Strategical consequences of the line 
Shifting of centre of gravity in Central Asia Greater proximity 
of base Comparison of present with former facilities Russian 
power of attack Lines of invasion : (i.) Caspian and Herat Line 
Strength and location of the Russian forces in Transcaspia 
Reinforcements from Europe Difficulty of Caspian marine trans- 
port -Latest figures Difficulty of landing-places Difficulty of 
supplies -Serious in Transcaspia Importance of Khorasan 
Complicity of Persia Addition to offensive power of Russia 
(ii.) Strength and utility of Turkestan Army Total Russian 
strength for invasion Strength of Anglo-Indian Army for offen- 
sive purposes British and Russian reinforcements The issue 
Russian views of the Transcaspian Railway as a means of offence. 

HAVING now carried my readers to the furthest point 
of my journey, I propose in this chapter to deal with 


possible or contemplated extensions of the Trans- 
caspian Eailway, and to estimate its consequences, 
political, commercial, and strategical, in Central Asia. 
There is no doubt that if Tashkent is approached by 
rail it will now be not in the first place from the 
north, but by a continuation from Samarkand. The 
physical obstacles to the construction of such a line 
are insignificant ; though more cutting and embank- 
ment would be necessitated than along the Trans- 
caspian route. Two stable and permanent bridges 
would, moreover, be required over the straggling 
channels of the Zerafshan and over the Syr Daria. 
M. Mestcherin told me at St. Petersburg that the 
difficulty and expense of building these bridges 
would, in his opinion, postpone the suggested exten- 
sion, which would be rendered the less necessary by 
the gradual transference to Samarkand of the mer- 
cantile and eventually, perhaps, of the administrative 
business now centred in Tashkent. General Eoseubach 
also recognised a probable cause of delay in the cost 
of the bridges, but did not agree in the hypothesis of 
an ultimate deposition of the present capital in favour 
of Samarkand. I drew from his remarks the inference 
that in his judgment the connection of the two 
places by rail will not be very long postponed a 
conclusion at which I should arrive myself with even 
greater confidence, on the a priori ground that, the 
Transcaspian Eailway having been built for strate- 
gical purposes, the Eussians are not in the least likely 
to be deterred by a gap of less than 200 miles from link- 
ing together the two bases of operations and lines of 


advance, the twin arms, so to speak, of the forceps, 
whose firm grip may one day he required to draw 
the teeth of England in Central Asia. A railway 
from Tashkent to Samarkand would enable the 
Kussians to utilise the military resources not merely 
of Turkestan, but even of Omsk, the nearest military 
district of Siberia, and to place upon the Oxus at 
Tcharjui, at Kerki, or at Kilif, a second army as large 
in numbers, and in as short a space of time, as the 
main force advancing from the Caspian vid Sarakhs. 
The one would menace "Balkh, Bamian, and Kabul, 
the other Herat and Kandahar ; and a British or 
Afghan army would have to divide its strength in 
order to confront the double danger, 
its ndvan. Political and commercial reasons recommend the 


same extension. Turkestan has hitherto been depen- 
dent upon the laborious caravan routes across the 
Kirghiz steppes from Orenburg. Transport along 
these occupied at the quickest from four to six weeks, 
and sometimes in the winter four or five months. A 
Governor-General journeying at full speed from his 
seat of government to St. Petersburg, or vice versd, 
spent three weeks upon the road. Its extreme 
isolation severed Tashkent from the world, and in 
the absence of intercourse and dearth of any but 
telegraphic communication, fostered a mischievous 
and even foolhardy spirit of independence. Closer 
correspondence with European Russia and the capital 
will, politically speaking, be a gain to the peace, 
rather than to the war party. From the commercial 
point of view the connection of Tashkent with a 


railway system will prove similarly advantageous. 
Already both the import and export trades of Fer- 
ghana and Turkestan have been diverted to a large 
extent to the railway, even though carried no further 
than Samarkand. When the rails have been pro- 
longed to Tashkent, it will monopolise the entire 
traffic, at least with Southern Russia. Not the least 
important among its effects w T ill be the stimulus that 
may thus be given to the cotton-planting industry of 
Turkestan, which has already attained large dimen- 
sions, and to which the Russians look in the future to 
render themselves wholly independent of foreign 
supply. So certain indeed do I feel of the extension 
of the line to Tashkent as an event of the near future, 
that I would even hazard the prediction that it will 
ultimately be continued thence northwards to Oren- 
burg, 1 or perhaps to some other point further east 
on the Central Siberian Railway, which is now being 
planned across Northern Asia, and which is to run 
ind Tomsk to Irkutsk ; 2 and that so one part at least 
of Lesseps' original design will be completed, though 
in an inverse direction, and there will be a circular 
railway extending from Moscow and returning again to 
it, through the heart of the Asian continent. I do not 
say that this will be effected in ten or even twenty years, 
but that it will come as the logical corollary to the 

1 The Russian Ministry of Public Ways has already in the past 
summer applied for funds in order to make surveys for a lino from 
Samara via Orenburg to Tashkent. 

* According to the official scheme recently approved by a special com- 
mission, the line is to run from Zlatoust, through Kurgan, Omsk, Tomsk, 
and Kansk to Irkutsk ; and ultimately via, Southern Baikal, Possol- 
skaia, Chita, Stretensk, and Khabarooka, to Vladivostok on the Pacific. 


Transcaspian Eailway I have little doubt. Brandies 
to Khokand and elsewhere will naturally follow. 

When the surveys for General AnnenkofPs railway 
Lino were being made the idea was discussed of approach- 
ing the Ainu Daria at a point considerably to the 
south of Tcharjui, and of selecting Bourdaiik, about 
halfway between Tcharjui and Kerki, for the point 
of crossing. This would have been a more direct 
route by nearly fifty miles from Merv to Samarkand, 
which would have been reached vid the Bokharan 
town of Karshi. On the other hand, it would have 
involved a rather longer stretch of the sand desert, 
and would have missed the more populous and fertile 
portions of the Khanate, and the capital itself, great 
advantages, both commercial and political, from the 
opening of which to traffic were rightly anticipated 
by the Russian authorities. These considerations 
decided them in favour of the Tcharjui route; and 
the more southern line is not now spoken of. 
Tcharjui- In another form, however, the project of bringing 

branch the upper Oxus into communication with the Trans- 
Caspian system has lately bee*n revived, viz. in the 
scheme of a railway along the left bank of the Oxus 
from Tcharjui, either to Kerki, the most advanced 
military station of Kussia on the river, which was 
occupied in May 1887, or to Bosaga, the frontier post 
in the district of Kliamiab. It was hoped originally 
that the need for such an undertaking would be ob- 
viated by the success of the Oxus flotilla, which was 
intended to supply the principal means of advance 
in that direction But the precarious fortune of the 


navigation, to which I have previously referred, has 
shaken these expectations ; and when the recent scare 
occurred on the borders of Afghan Turkestan in the 
spring of 1881), it was announced that the Russians 
had decided to carry forward the railway to Khamiab. 
This was in all probability a piece of bravado ; and 
it is unlikely that this branch will be immediately 
taken in hand. Should it be constructed in the 
future, there can be no misconception as to its charac- 
ter and object. These will be purely strategical; and 
they will amount to a military menace against Afghan 

An even more interesting question is the southerly Herat 


extension of the existing line from some point near 
the Afghan frontier in the direction of Herat. In an 
earlier chapter I mentioned Pushak as the southern- 
most station of the present railway and a possible 
starting-point of future advance. When Itussia first 
pushed forward to and beyond Askabad, the boundary 
region between Turkomania, Persia, and Afghanistan 
was so little known that the officials themselves could 
form no opinion as to the possibility of conducting a 
railway in near vicinity to the Afghan frontier. These 
doubts were for ever set at rest by the memorable 
expeditions of the Russian engineer M. Lessar, in the 
winter of 1881, the spring of 1882, and again in 
1883. Skilfully and exhaustively surveying this 
terra incognita right up to the walls of Herat, he 
showed that the physical and engineering difficulties 
of such a project were purely chimerical, and resolved 
the impassable mountain barrier, by which the fond 


fancy of an uninstructed generation bad believed 
Herat to be defended on the north, into a chain of 
low hills, crossed by a pass about the same height 
above the surrounding country as the highest point 
of the Mendip Hills above the Bristol Channel. From 
Dushak to Sarakhs the line would traverse a level 
plain ; from Sarakhs it would follow the east bank of 
the Heri llud through a country, now flat, now un- 
dulating, but nowhere difficult. Crossing the Paropa- 
misus range by a pass over the Barkhut hills, it would 
finally debouch upon Kuhsan, sixty-five miles over 
the level to Herat. Were this the direction adopted by 
the Eussian authorities, Dushak would constitute the 
obvious point of deviation, while Sarakhs and Pul-i- 
Khatim would naturally figure as stations upon the 
Herat branch. 

Later topographical surveys, however, as well as 
branch other considerations, have latterly served to bring to 
the front the rival project of an extension from Merv 
up the valley of the Murghab to Penjdeh and the 
confluence with the Kushk ; and I am authorised by 
M. Lessar to say that he has himself abandoned his 
preference for the earlier scheme. Under these cir- 
cumstances we may expect that if an extension to- 
wards the frontier is contemplated in these parts, this 
will be the line of advance. Upon the spot no very 
precise information was procurable. Plans were said 
not yet to have been prepared. There seemed, how- 
ever, to be a consensus of opinion that sooner or 
later the southerly extension would be taken in hand, 
a few persons assigning to it the first place on the 


programme of construction. Some conflict may be 
expected between the peace party and the war party 
on the subject, the former agitating for the extension 
to Tashkent, which would be mainly of commercial 
advantage, the latter for that to Sarakhs or Penjdeh, 
which would be a purely military operation, and the 
meaning of which the most elementary knowledge of 
the conditions will teach. Herat, already at the 
mercy of Russia, would be placed literally within her 
clutch. She might not care to violate the Afghan 
frontier and run the risk of war with England by 
pushing on the rails to Herat itself; but her terminus 
would be within a few days' march of ' the key of 
India,' and the occurrence of any internal complica- 
tion might give the signal for the short remaining 
advance. Englishmen are already beginning to pre- 
pare themselves for a Russian occupation of Herat, 
not with equanimity, because such a step cannot fail 
to involve war, and if effected, must certainly entail 
a loss of British prestige, but as the next forward 
move of Russia in the Central Asian game. I shall 
not be surprised if many now living see a Russian 
railway station at Herat in their time. 

I come now to the question of the si^ggested ex- Proposed 

PIT T IT i pAi-i junction 

tension oi the line through the heart ot Afghanistan, with the 

-, . . . i i TT i Indian 

and its junction with the Indian railway system at railway 

. system 

Kandahar. General Annenkoff has both in print and 
in reported interviews indulged in the most rainbow- 
hued anticipations of such an amalgamation. lie 
has talked about Englishmen travelling from London 
to India in nine days vid the Caspian and Herat ; and, 


though he seems to have been struck by the impro- 
bability that such a line passing through Eussian 
territory could be utilised by British troops, he has 
expressed the ingenuous opinion that it might 
certainly be used by British merchants, while an ex- 
emption might even be made in favour of British 
officers. The physical obstacles to such a through 
line are nil. I have pointed out that the extension 
to Herat is easy, and is only a matter of time. Prom 
Herat to Kandahar, a distance of 381) miles, there are 
no greater difficulties. As long ago as June 25, 1838, 
Sir John M'Nrill, who showed a knowledge much in 
advance of his generation, wrote as follows to Lord 
Palmerston from Meshed : 

1 have already informed your lordship publicly that the 
country between the frontiers of Persia and India is far more 
productive than 1 had imagined it to be ; and I can assure 
your lordship that there is no impediment, either from the 
physical features of the country or from the deficiency of 
supplies, to the inarch of a large army from the frontiers of 
Georgia to Kandahar, or, as I believe, to the Indus. 

Count Simonitch, being larne from a wound, drove his 
carriage from Teheran, to Herat, and could drive it to Kan- 
dahar ; and the Shah's army has now for nearly seven months 
subsisted almost exclusively on the supplies of the country 
immediately around Herat and Ghnrian, leaving the still 
more productive districts of Sebzewar and Farrah untouched. 
In short, I can vouch from personal observation that there is 
absolutely no impediment to the march of an army to Herat ; 
and that from all the information I have received, the country 
between that city and Kandahar not only presents no difficulty, 
but affords remarkable facilities for the passage of armies. 
There is, therefore, my lord, no security for India in the nature 
of the country through which an army would have to pass to 


invade it from this side. On the contrary, the whole line is 
peculiarly favourable for such an enterprise ; and I am the 
more anxious to state this opinion clearly, becauso it is at 
variance with my previous belief, and with statements which 
1 may have previously hazarded, relying on more imperfect 

What M'Neill said fifty years ago of an army 
applies still more to-day to a railway. At Kandahar 
the line would be separated by only sixty miles of 
level plain from tlie present outpost of British arms 
and terminus of the Quetta Eailway at Chaman. From 
600 to 700 miles, for the most part over a country as 
flat as the palm of the hand, is therefore the very 
limited extent of the hiatus that still intervenes. 

When we turn to the political aspect of the cnies- 

v/r * * i A A ^awbacka 

tion we are in a very dmerent atmosphere. Alter 
all, the proposed amalgamation must involve two 
consenting parties ; and if the Eussian Government 
were to favour the idea, which is so contrary to 
traditional Muscovite policy as to be extremely un- 
likely, the consent of Downing Street, of the British 
House of Commons, and, in the last resort, of the 
British people, would still have to be obtained. I 
devoutly hope that not one of the three would for a 
moment entertain an idea so speculative in its incep- 
tion, so problematical in its issues, so perilous in the 
lateral contingencies to which it might give birth. I 
question if even from a fiscal point of view England i, Fiscal 
would reap the slightest advantage from the alleged 
new outlet to her Indian trade ; for this would speedily 
be stifled by the merciless prohibitory tariffs of Eussia, 


which already have all but ousted English caravan- 
borne goods from the markets of Central Asia, and 
have seriously handicapped the export of Indian 
native produce and manufactures. On the other hand, 
Russian merchandise, unimpeded by hostile duties, 
would descend in an avalanche upon the markets 
of Afghanistan, Beluchistan, and the Indian border; 
it would flood the towns of Seistan and Southern 
Persia; and England would find that she had stupidly 
handed over the keys of her commercial monopoly to 
her only formidable rival. 

ii. Political But supposing these views to be exaggerated 
or mistaken, assuming commercial profit to Great 
.Britain resulting from a junction of railways, and 
estimating that profit at the maximum, it would yet 
be dearly purchased at the cost of national insecurity, 
of lowered prestige, and of perpetual danger. The 
prolongation of the Russian railway through Afghani- 
stan for if it were prolonged it is to be feared that 
as far as Kandahar it would be the work of Russian 
capital and of Russian hands would be regarded 
throughout the East as a crowning blow to British 
prestige, already seriously imperilled by a long course 
of pocketed affronts and diplomatic reverses. It 
would imply the consolidation of Russian dominion 
right up to the gates of Kandahar (for I am assuming 
that in the event of Russia seizing Herat the British 
Government would at least retaliate by an occupation 
of Kandahar). It would entail a coterminous frontier. 
It would bring a possible enemy a month nearer to 
the Indus and to India. It would mean that at the 


slightest breath of disagreement between the Cabinets 
of London and St. Petersburg, the British frontier 
must be placed in a state of efficient defence against 
armed attack. It would involve an enormous con- 
centration of troops, and a heavy charge upon the 
Indian Exchequer. It would necessitate a standing 
increase of the Indian Arm} 7 . For all these reasons 
I earnestly hope that no support will bo given in 
England to a project so fantastic in itself and likely 
to be so dangerous to the Empire. 

Passing from the question of the future develop- Favour- 
merit of the Transcaspian line, I will briefly state mate of 

1 . . the Trans- 

what appeared to me to be its chief sources of Caspian 
strength and means of influence, and will then attempt 
to estimate its bearing upon the relations of Groat 
Britain and Russia in the East. In the first place, I 
am inclined to think that General Amienkoff's rail- 
way has been much underrated in England. Realistic 
descriptions of the unprepossessing country which it 
traverses, exaggerated versions of the various acci- 
dents or stoppages to traffic that have occurred, an 
imperfect comprehension of the as yet undeveloped 
resources of the new Russian territories, have com- 
bined to produce an unfavourable impression. It 
was even believed for some time in this country that 
the line was laid on a very narrow gauge ; and Sir 
Charles Dilke, writing so late as the year 1887, de- 
scribed the extension south of Askabad, which had 
been completed for over a year, as a steam tramway, 
a statement which is still allowed to appear without 
correction in the printed collection of his essays. 


From the evidence of my own eyes, of which I have 
endeavoured to give a perfectly faithful picture, I 
drew a different conclusion. It appeared to me that, 
on the whole, and taking into account the poverty of 
available resources, the line has been well and sub- 
stantially laid ; that the rolling stock, though at 
present inadequate, is N of good material ; that the 
buildings and appointments have been or are being 
excellently constructed ; that the permanent way has 
been as effectively safeguarded against destructive 
influences as the local conditions will permit; and 
that, considering the limited amount of traffic that 
for some time will pass over the line, compared with 
railways in European States, and the avowedly stra- 
tegical character of the original undertaking, it is 
of a more solid and permanent character than might 
have been expected. Attention was drawn by the 
4 Times ' correspondent to the absence of a sufficient 
number of culverts to draw off the cataracts of water 
that descend from the Persian mountains, a defect 
which has since been repaired, and I have before 
alluded to the ever-present peril of the sands. With 
these two exceptions, the line is as safe and as durable 
a one as is to be found in any similar region of the 
Possible To what extent it might, in time of war, be able 

strain in . . . 

time of war to stand the strain of a succession of heavy trams, is 
perhaps more open to question. The absence of any 
ballast but sand, and the difficulty, in the absence of 
timber, of repairing rotten or broken sleepers, though 
not noticeable under the conditions of ordinary traffic, 


might become serious in an emergency. The scarcity 
of water and the amount of railway material required 
for the conveyance of supplies, co-operating with the 
above-mentioned features, incline me to the belief 
that, of the two extremes, a lower rather than a 
higher estimate should at present prevail of its capa- 
bilities formidable as I shall show these in many 
respects to be in time of war. 

Among the consequences directly accruing from Political 
the construction of the railway, I will first call atten- the railway 
tion to its political effects on Russia and the Russian 
dominions in the East. Twenty-five years ago, when 
Eussia, recovering from the prostration inflicted by 
the Crimean War, began to push into the heart of 
Asia, it was from the north and north-west that she 
advanced. Her objective was the Khanates of the 
middle zone, towards which her route lay over the 
Kirghiz Steppes ; and she attained her end with the 
capture of Samarkand and practical subjugation of 
Bokhara in 1808. Turkestan and Khokand were 
already conquered, if not finally absorbed ; and north 
of the Oxus no fresh enemy awaited or merited attack. 
Accordingly she shifted her attention to another 
quarter, and commenced, at first tentatively and 
blunderingly, from the direction of the Caspian 
Sea. Ambition, nature, necessity gradually tempted 
her on, from Krasnovodsk to Geok Tepe. from Geok 
Tepe to Askabad, from Askabad to Merv, and from 
Merv to Sarakhs and Penjdeh, until presently she 
found herself in possession of a twofold Asiatic 
dominion., the one part in Turkomania, the other in 


Turkestan. A mighty river and impassable sands 
separated the two and rendered communication pre- 
carious. General AnnenkofFs railway has laughed 
alike at river and at sands, has passed the impassable, 
and has linked together and consolidated the earlier 
and the later conquest, welding east and west into a 
single Central Asian Empire. Bokhara, it is true, lies 
sandwiched between ; but so does Hyderabad between 
the presidencies of Madras and Bombay. Panic- 
stricken before, Bokhara is impotent now, having 
signed away her last expiring chance of freedom when 
the first rails started from the Oxus bank. It is 
amazing to hear and read of people who still argue 
as though Bokhara might rise in rebellion, and the 
Russians be forcibly ejected from the Khanate. Let 
all such insane hallucinations be extinguished. The 
sentence that Geok Tepe wrote in blood for the 
Turkomans, General Annenkoff has translated in a 
less truculent vocabulary for the Tajiks. Bokhara is 
rather more Russian than Hyderabad is British ; and 
the Amir is, if possible, less formidable than the Nizam. 
Absorption In Turkomania, too, the railway has exercised a 
mania powerful effect. Without it the occupation of Merv, 
though peacefully effected, would have remained a 
venture, isolated, and possibly followed by risk. 
Merv on the railway line has taken its place as one 
link in the chain of Turkoman oases, now for the first 
time connected together, and has pledged along with 
its own allegiance that of Yuletan, Sarakhs, and 
Penjdeh. Indeed, the ultimate consequences of the 
line are further reaching still ; for to a new Turko- 


manian empire thus constituted the whole body of 
Turkomans, whose tribal differences are as nothing 
compared with their blood distinction from Persian, 
Afghan, or Tartar, will tend to gravitate ; and the 
Turkomans of North Persia, Yomuds and Goklans of 
the Atrek, Gurgaii, and Sumbar Rivers, as well as the 
Turkomans Salors, Ersari, Alieli, Kara, and others 
of the upper pastures of the Kushk and Murghab, of 
Andkui and Maimena, and Afghan Turkestan, along 
with those of Khiva, 1 will sooner or later cross the 
frontier line into Russian territory if she does not first 
cross it into theirs. In a word, the construction of 
the railway means the final Russification of the whole 
Turkoman Steppes from Khorasan to Khiva, and from 
the Caspian to the Oxus. 

Of the influence of the railway upon Persia I shall influence 
speak again in discussing its commercial and military Persia 
consequences. But the political ascendency which it 
confirms to Russia may be roughly indicated by a 
glance at the map, where it will be seen to command 
along its entire length the northern flank of Khorasan, 
and has been signally exemplified in the pressure 
lately brought to bear by Russia with such complete 
success at Teheran, first to secure the appointment 
of a Consul-General at Meshed, and subsequently to 
enforce the completion of the road to that place from 
Askabad. The Russian minister at Teheran has but 
to wink his eye in the direction of the Caspian and 

1 The Turkomans under Khivan rule are Yomuds, Chadars, Emrali 
Ata and Alili ; and their numbers were estimated by Kaufmann and 
Petrusevitch at 250,000. 


Khorasan for the Shah to know exactly what is meant. 
The Transcaspian Railway is a sword of Damocles 
perpetually suspended above his head, just as the 
non-payment of the war indemnity is over that of his 
companion in misfortune, the Sultan of Turkey, 
increased Among the political consequences of the railway 
Russia must be included the immense augmentation of 
Russian prestige in the East. Already redoubtable 
for the endurance and bravery of her soldiers, she has 
shown her superiority over those hostile forces of 
nature with which the fatalistic Oriental has never 
found spirit to cope. A railway in the deserts of 
Central Asia is a far more wonderful thing to the 
Eastern mind than one through the teeming territories 
of Hindostan : the passage of the sands more remark- 
able than the piercing of mountain ranges. Fatalism, 
moreover, if it starts by provoking a sanguinary 
resistance, ends in producing a stupefied submission. 
A sense of utter powerlessness against the Russians 
has been diffused abroad among the Central Asian 
peoples, and experience of the overwhelming strength 
of their conquerors has brought a corresponding 
recognition of their own weakness to the conquered. 
The fire of inveterate savagery burns feebly and low. 
Like a herd of cattle cowering under shelter during a 
thunderstorm, they court the very danger by which 
they are at once fascinated and appalled. 
Com- I turn next to the commercial effects of the new 

effects railway, a subject upon which I shall express decided 
opinions, and opinions at variance with those that 
have hitherto found spokesmen in this country. It 


has been asserted that little or no commercial interest 
has been displayed in the undertaking ; that no 
merchants from St. Petersburg or Moscow were 
present at the inauguration ; that the annual fair at 
Baku, established in connection with the line, has so 
far proved somewhat of a failure (it has, however, only 
been in existence for two years) ; and, in fine, that the 
business classes in Eussia have as good as boycotted 
the entire concern. I believe this to be an altogether 
erroneous impression. I look upon the railway as 
possessing a commercial future of the very first and 
most serious importance; and I can even conceive this 
result, that an enterprise admittedly military in its 
inception may come in time to be regarded by Great 
Britain as a more formidable antagonist to her 
mercantile than to her imperial supremacy in the 

In credit to General Annenkoff it must be said 
that, partly no doubt with a desire to conciliate oppo- 
sition and to render plausible the pacific character 
of the undertaking, but still with no small practical 
insight, he has proclaimed from the first that there 
was a great trade opening in Central Asia which his 
railway was destined to fill. In his original pamphlet, 
introducing his scheme to the notice of the public, he 
pointed out that the overland trade of India had 
invariably enriched the countries through which it 
passed. He proposed, in short, to tap the springs of 
Central Asian commerce, and to compete with Great 
Britain even in the markets of her own dominions. 
Ii\ a later report, published at St. Petersburg in 1887, 


upon the commercial importance of the line, the 
General wisely restricted his imagination to a some- 
what less ambitious horizon, but with actual experi- 
ence to reckon from, issued a revised manifesto of the 
commercial possibilities of Eussia in Central Asia. 1 
In this publication lie pointed out the chance now 
presented to Eussia of securing a monopoly of the 
trade of Khorasan, and estimated that four-fifths of the 
exports, amounting to 6,450 tons weight, would pass 
by the Transcaspian Eailway, and of the imports and 
exports together 12,100 tons. He also dwelt upon 
the future of the cotton industry of Turkestan, 
destined sooner or later to meet the fullest demands 
of European Eussia, whither the Transcaspian Eailway 
would provide the speediest and cheapest method 
of transport, Turkestan-grown cotton being saleable 
under these conditions in Moscow at fourpence a 
pound, whereas imported cotton from Egypt, India, 
or America is only procurable at an average price of 
sevenpence a pound. The calculations and forecasts 
of General Annenkoff are, I believe, broadly speaking, 
correct, and are corroborated by my own inquiries 
on the spot, by the accounts of experts, and by the 
results so far exhibited by the Transcaspian Eailway 

Com- In this relation the Eussians have acted with 

policy and commendable judgment from the start. Before the 

success of 

Russia line was pushed on to the Oxus and Bokhara, a 
commission was appointed to report upon the prin- 

1 Vide No. 71 of the Miscellaneous Series of Foreign Office Reports, 


cipal lines of communication and trade arteries, and 
to specify the points whither to attract and where to 
repel commercial intercourse. In accordance with 
its recommendations, the line was designed to corre- 
spond with the principal caravan routes and water- 
ways. In 1884 the telegraph wire was extended to 
Bokhara, so as to enable the merchants of that great 
emporium to be in touch with the fluctuations of the 
European market and vice versd. How rapid and 
how complete has been the mercantile conquest 
which Eussia has subsequently achieved in the 
Tartar capital my remarks in an earlier chapter have 
shown. At the present moment she may be said to 
have absolute command, so far as European imports 
are concerned, of the Bokharan market ; and a few 
years ago the * Turkestan Gazette ' boasted of having 
destroyed foreign i.e. English trade to the value 
of 750,OOOZ. with Bokhara alone. In Turkestan the 
old caravan route vid Kazalinsk and Orenburg, 
which occupied from sixty to a hundred and twenty 
days, has been partially deserted in favour of the 
longer but more expeditious journey by the rail- 

Simultaneously with these results must be noticed 


the fiscal policy deliberately pursued by Eussia policy of 

. . strict pro- 

throughout her dominions, and nowhere with less tection 
compunction or quarter than in Central Asia. In 
August 1887, the Eussian Minister of Finance, pay- 
ing an official visit to the Great Fair at Nijni 
Novgorod, addressed to the assembled merchants 
this remarkable message from the Czar : 


The Emperor has ordered me to tell the merchants and 
manufacturers here assembled that the successes of Russian 
trade and industry are always dear to his heart, and that he 
considers those successes as the most important functions of 
the life of the State ; and that he will regard every service 
rendered for the furtherance of Russian trade and industry 
as a meritorious act accomplished for the good of the State. 
. . . All the measures latterly adopted for stimulating 
Russian trade and industry were conceived and ordered to 
be carried out by the Emperor. He directs, and will continue 
to direct, the economic and financial policy of the country, 
and all benign initiative proceeds immediately from him. 1 

Here was a direct proclamation of the principle 
of a national economic policy, and the arrogation 
of an Imperial authority for the rigid protective 
system that is now being unflinchingly applied from 
the Baltic to the China Seas. 

its opera Iii Central Asia this policy has been pursued 

central with deadly consequences to all other competitors, 
and most of all to the sole serious competitor with 
Russia Great Britain. In 1881 all European i.e. 
in the main British products were, witli a few speci- 
fied exceptions, absolutely excluded from the Eussian 
possessions in Central Asia. At the same time heavy 
duties were imposed upon Indian products, such as 
tissues, indigo, and teas, a tariff which in 1886 pro- 
duced 25,000. upon the Indian goods imported 
through Afghanistan. 2 In Russian territory special 

1 Vide No. 08 of the Miscellaneous Series of Foreign Office Reports, 

2 The customs regulations for the present year in Russian Turkestan 
were promulgated as follows in the Turkestan Gazette of May 1889 : 

I. All imports from other parts of the Russian Empire, and all 


encouragement is given to Russian importation, 
while exemptions are granted to neighbouring native 
states. The fiscal policy of Eussia may be described, 
therefore, as prohibitory towards Great Britain, as re- 
strictive towards India, as differential towards other 
Eastern countries, and as protective towards herself. 

In Afghanistan this policy is producing results of Russian 

i. i i -. // T trade with 

a twofold and marked significance. It is expanding Afghan- 

merchandise and products from Bokhara, Khiva, and China, are ad- 
mitted free of customs duties into Russian Turkestan,with the excep- 
tions mentioned in IIT. 

II. The importation of Anglo-Indian, Afghan, Persian, Turkish, 
and Western European goods not enumerated in III., and also of 
powder and warlike stores, is forbidden. 

III. The following articles may only be imported on payment of 
duty as set forth : 

(1) Precious stones, real and imitation, pearls, garnets, and un- 
worked coral at 4 roubles S kopecks per poud. 

(2) Laurel leaves and berries at 2 r. 21 k. per poud. 

(H) Spices at duties varying between Gr. and 24 r. per poud. 

(4) Sugar products, mainly confectionery and preserves, at 1 r. 65 k. 
2>er poud. 

(5) Tea at 14 r. 40 k. per poud. 
(0) Indigo at 6 r. per poud. 

(7) Boots and shoes of Indian leather at 1 r. 19k. per Ib. 

(S) Muslin at Ir. per Ib. 

(9) Coral, worked and threaded, at 6r. 72k. per Ib. 

Early in the same year a decree was published for the establish- 
ment of a special customs service in Transcaspia (vide the Kavkas 
newspaper, March 29, 1889), which contained these, among other, pro- 
visions : 

I. European, Anglo-Indian, and Persian goods, brought by land 
from abroad into the Transcaspian province are subjected to an ad 
valorem duty of 2j? per cent. 

II. Goods passing through the custom house at Uzun Ada for 
European Russia or the Caucasus are to pay the full European tariff, 
deducting the amount already paid under I. 

Since then, however, an official proclamation has been issued at 
Askabacl, declaring that all goods from Persia will be allowed free 
transit through Transcaspia if sent via Uzun Ada and Baku ; a privi- 
lege which had previously been conceded to Persian trade passing 
through the Caucasus^. (Board of Trade Journal, June 1889.) 


with great rapidity the interchange of commercial re- 
lations between the markets of Northern Afghanistan 
and the neighbouring Eussian or Eussianised provinces, 
particularly Bokhara ; thus providing Eussia with a 
new outlet for her manufactures at the same time that 
she is politically the gainer by the establishment of 
friendly relations with the Afghans. In the second 
place, it is crushing British Indian commercial com- 
petition in Afghanistan, not merely in the North, but 
even as far South as Kabul, and is ousting English 
trade from one more field of hitherto undisputed 
triumph. A few words about each of these re- 

imorts The trade between Afghanistan and Bokhara is 

caravan-borne, and is principally in the hands of 
Bokharan merchants ; though a case has been heard 
of a Eussian merchant proceeding to Charvilayet, and 
successfully trading there in Eussian sugar. The 
Afghan markets immediately served by the caravans 
are those of Maimena, Andkui, Shibergan, Akcha, 
and Siripul ; and the chief imports from Afghanistan, 
exclusive of the Indian transit trade, which consists 
of green tea, indigo, drugs, and English muslin, 
brought vid Kabul, are wool, sheep, lamb, and fox- 
skins, oil seed, and pistachio nuts. The main Eussian 
exports to Afghanistan are printed goods, sugar, lump, 
moist, and candy, trunks, iron, hardware, copper, 
drugs, and matches. The Eussian Journal of the 
Ministry of Finance for 1889 has published the fol- 
lowing figures of this Eusso- Afghan trade for the past 
year, during which time it suffered seriously from the 


general disturbance arising out of the rebellion of 
Is-hak Khan. 

Imporl of Goods to Bokhara from Afghanistan. 

June 1888 (before the rebellion) . . . .215,890 

July 80,720 

August 55,414 

September 45,924 

October 88,611 

November 48,812 

December 8,511 

Export of Russian Goods to Afghanistan from Bokhara. 

June 1888 (before the rebellion) . . . . 128,581 

July 54,558 

August 53,241 

September 38,669 

ctobei : j 55,864 

November ) 

December 5,417 

The above figures indicate both the high level of 
business transactions between Russia and Afghanistan 
that has already been reached in time of peace, and 
the complete dislocation arising from warlike proceed- 
ings. In the settlement that has since ensued, the 
rebound will probably be as rapid ; although the ex- 
orbitant transit dues charged by the Afghans, which 
have had the effect, as stated in a previous chapter, 
of diverting some of the trade to the ridiculously 
circuitous route from the Persian Gulf to Askabad, 
will for a time exercise a restrictive influence. Never- 
theless the official report does not hesitate to conclude 
that, ' notwithstanding recent political complications, 
Northern Afghanistan presents a market in which 
Eussian goods find a ready sale, and compete success- 


fully with Anglo-Indian and other European merchan- 
Anglo- It is in the latter respect that the apprehensions 


t r !3 Bit ^ Englishmen will find most cause for legitimate 
provocation. Afghanistan has long arid naturally 
been regarded as the private preserve of English 
traders, who, in the absence of competition from the 
North, distributed their goods throughout the country 
by means of native caravans, penetrating the main 
passes from British India. Some of these goods merely 
passed through the country on their way to the now 
Kussianised markets of Central Asia ; a trade which, 
though it still exists in the case of such products or 
manufactures as Russia cannot herself provide, is 
crippled by the double deadweight of Afghan and 
llussian prohibitory tariffs, and is brought to an ab- 
solute standstill in winter or in times of political dis- 
turbance. Its decline may be illustrated by returns 
showing that the transit trade vid Herat and Kerki to 
Bokhara, which in 1881 amounted to 3,600 camel 
loads and 1,025 tons weight, sank in 1884 to 1,700 
camel loads and 490 tons weight, and has since all 
but vanished ; while during the autumn and winter 
of last year (1888) communication by caravan between 
Kabul and Bokhara ceased altogether. 

British But the diminution, or even the extinction, of this 

trade with . 

Afghan- transit trade is less significant than the progressive 
expulsion of British and Indian manufactures from 
the markets of Afghanistan itself. The statistics of 
exports from the Punjab into Afghanistan exhibit a 
steady decline ; Kabul and Herat uo longer look to 


India alone for their foreign or European supplies ; 
and the latest official report of the Indian Government 
contains these words : 

The trade with parts beyond Quetta is as yet not large, 
and perhaps it can hardly be expected to become so until 
Kandahar is reached. Trade with Kabul is not progressing 
as it might have been expected to do, seeing that the railway 
runs right up to its border, and that the country has been 
free for the last few years from serious political convulsions. 
Whether the stagnation of the trade is to be attributed to 
Russian customs restrictions on the border of Northern Afghan- 
istan, impeding the progress of transit trade between India 
and Central Asia, or to the illiberal fiscal reyimeof the Amir, 
or to tribal disturbances from time to time, it is certain in 
any case that the trade gives no indication of material increase. 
The sale of Russian goods is stated in a Consular report to bo 
yearly increasing in Persia and in the neighbouring Afghan 
territory, from which British goods are being driven out,. 1 

The general commercial outlook in Central Asia Quotation 
is therefore as good for Russia as it is discouraging Foreign 

.... . . Office Kc- 

for Great Britain. Similar testimony may be cited p r * 
from other quarters. The report of Russian trade for 
the year 1887 contained this paragraph : 

Traders from Khiva, Bokhara, Tashkent, Persia, and even 
Asia Minor, are said to have made considerable purchases of 
Russian cotton goods at the Fair of Nijni Novgorod in 1887, 
instead of, as formerly, supplying themselves with English 
productions, which they obtained through Batoum, Asia 
Minor, and Persia. The closing of Batoum as a free port, 
the abolition of the transit trade across the Caucasus, and the 
construction of the Transcaspian Railway have undeniably 
resulted in the acquisition of new markets for Russian manu- 

1 Statement of the Trade of British India from 1883-88. London, 


facturers in the far East, to our clear disadvantage. Accord- 
ing to the report of the Governor of the Transcaspian region, 
the sale of Russian goods is not only yearly increasing in 
Persia (especially at Kuchan, Bujnurd, and Meshed), but is 
driving British goods out of the neighbouring Afghan terri- 
tory, as, for instance, out of Herat. Bokhara is reported to 
be replete with the products of Russian manufacture. The 
Russian diplomatic agent there states that English goods are 
not able to compete with Russian products, and that English 
prints are rarely to be met with at present in Bokhara. 
Native dealers of the Caucasus, Trans-Caucasus, and Turkish 
Armenia are reported to have also become large purchasers 
of Russian manufactured goods. Great Britain, which for- 
merly enjoyed almost the monopoly of the trade in most of 
these parts, is now receding there, commercially, into the 
background. The Governor-Gen oral of Turkestan confirms 
the report of his colleague of the Transcaspian region as to 
the increasing demand for Russian goods in Central Asia. 1 

Of this import and export trade the Transcaspian 
Railway is fast acquiring the entire monopoly, con- 
veying to the Caspian, and so to Europe, the cotton, 
the raw and dyed silk, the silk and cotton tissues, 
the velvets, sheepskins, carpets, leather, dried fruits, 
goats' hair, camels' hair, and furs of the East ; and 
flooding the Oriental markets in return with the prints, 
muslins, calicoes, broadcloth and brocades, the hides, 
iron tools and implements, cutlery, chinaware, glass, 
jewellery, candles, and lamps of European Russia. 2 

If we turn from the eastern to the western region 
of influence i.e. from Turkestan and Bokhara to 

1 No. 447 of the Annui Series of Foreign Office Reports, 1889. 

* The value of Russian exports over her entire Asiatic frontier, 
which in 1884 was 2,470,OOOJ., rose in 1886 to 8,530,OOOZ. ; the value of 
imports from Asia rose in the same period from 3,620,0002. to 4,530,000. 
(Vide Board of Trade Journal, p. 505, 1887.) 

Kliorasan and North Persia the results are not less 

, . monopoly 

significant, or, from an English point of view, mNorthem 
unsatisfactory. I have already pointed out the 
enormous advantage which the completion of the 
railway gives to Eussia in the practical control of 
Khorasan. This province, perhaps the wealthiest 
and most fertile in Persia, is approached by three 
main caravan routes: (1) the Azerbaijan route vid 
Tabriz, Teheran, and Shahrud ; (2) the Bender Abbas 
or Bushire routes from the Persian Gulf; and (3) 
thp Astrabad or Shahrud routes from the Caspian. 
For Southern and Central Persia, and even for 
Southern Khorasan, the roads from the Persian Gulf 
will retain their hold, especially for such imports as 
Indian teas ; but for the towns of Bujnurd, Kuchan, 
Bereguez, Kelat, and Meshed, the two northern 
routes are already being superseded by the new 
Eussian road, in connection with the railway, over 
the Kopet Dagh from Askabad. The latest Foreign 
Office Eeport says : 

East of Teheran, towards Meshed, and in Mazenderan, 
English prints are beaten by Russian productions, and in 
Mazenderan it would even be difficult to find a piece of 
English origin. . . . It is useless to attempt to compete with 
Russian sugar in North Persia. ... In general hardware 
and cutlery Russia appears to be taking the lead with cutlery 
and plated goods from Warsaw, although the expense of 
carriage is greater than that from Sheffield. . . . North of 
Ispahan the crockery and glassware are almost exclusively 
supplied by Russia and Austria. ' 

Simultaneously the British Consul at Constanti- 
1 No. 119 of the Miscellaneous Series of Foreign Office Beports, 1889. 


nople, in his report for the years 1 887 and 1888 on 
the trade of that place, speaks as follows : 

Largo wholesale import houses in Constantinople, which 
formerly did business with Persia and Central Asia, and acted 
as middlemen between European manufacturers and the 
merchants of those parts, have in recent years lost their cus- 
tomers and are gradually disappearing. This is owing in a 
measure to new and more direct routes having been thrown 
opon to markets that were formerly supplied from Constanti- 
nople. ... In Persia, the provinces of Azerbaijan, Khoi, and 
Mazanderan alone continue to take their supplies by way of 
Constantinople, and then only when the Russian competition- 
permits of their doing so. ... Trade with Persia vid Con- 
stantinople during the years 1887 and 1888 was not satisfac- 
tory. Dealers in Manchester goods suffered considerably, 
owing partly to Russian competition and also to the high 
rate of exchange prevailing at Odessa. 1 

Kindred testimony is borne by the French Consul 
at Tabriz, who in a letter to the Moniteur Officiel du 
Commerce, in July 1888, attributed the increase of 
trade between Persia and Russia to three causes (1) 
the proximity of Russia and facility of transport to 
good markets, (2) the large consumption of Persian 
produce in the neighbouring Russian territory, and 
(3) the institution of the fair at Baku, which has al- 
ready had an immense influence on Persian trade. 
He added, * It seems likely that the trade of Europe 
with Persia will be very seriously affected indeed by 
the influences which are linking that country in a 
closer commercial union with Russia. But it is Eng- 
land which will suffer most by the new situation ; for 

. * No. 537 of the Annual Series of Foreign Office Eeports, 1889. 


Russia makes muslins of better quality than those of 
Manchester; and when the price of the Russian mus- 
lins, which is rather high at present in consequence 
of their novelty, begins to fall a little, the English 
manufacturers will have no chance of competing with 
those of Russia.' 

In other words, British manufactures and products 
are being rapidly exterminated from a field in which 
they once held undisputed sway ; and, while Great 
Britain looks on with stolid surprise and British 
merchants offer the other cheek to the smiter, 
Russian commercial control is assuredly paving the 
way to ultimate political amalgamation. 1 

And yet we have already had sufficient warning 
a little further west, in the case of the overland trade British 

trade with 

with North and North-west Persia. The abolition of Northern 


the transit trade across the Caucasus in 1883, and 
the closing of Batoum as a free port in 1886, de- 
stroyed an important branch of British trade both with 
Transcaucasia and with Persia, that formerly either 
crossed to Baku and the Caspian or entered Persia vid 
Poti or Batoum, Ardahan, Kars, and Erivan to Tabriz, 
to the value of nearly 1,000,0002. a year. If it be 
contended that this trade was merely diverted to the 
longer and more costly Trebizond route, the returns of 
British imports into Persia by the latter can be quoted 
as affording a conclusive demonstration of the positive 

1 I have discussed at greater length and with additional evidence 
the commercial rivalry between Russia and England in Central Asia in 
a paper read before the British Association at Newcastle in September, 
1889, and published in the Asiatic Quarterly Review for October. 



loss incurred. For, so far from the Trebizond figures 
showing an increase, as they might be expected to do, 
in consequence of the closing of the Batoum line, they 
exhibit a steady annual reduction during the last 
three recorded years : 

1880 1881 1882 1883 1884 1885 1880 1887 

648,921 527,402 679,428 652,823 704,498 578,850 522,480 471,700 

while the report of the trade of Trebizond for the 
year 1887 contains the accompanying admission that 
' the decrease in cotton goods, especially from the 
United Kingdom, is to be explained by the greater 
importation of Russian stuffs, which appears to be 
yearly on the increase, that of Trebizond alone figur- 
ing for 1887 as 10,000/., against 1,920/. in 1886.' l 
Com- From all this evidence it results that in the 

policy of excluding Great Britain from the markets 

Caspian of Persia, as from those of Central Asia, Russia, 


whose motto is 'War to the Knife/ is attaining a 
marked success ; and that to this success the Trans- 
caspian Eailway is contributing in no slight degree. 
Russian eyes are open, even if British eyes are shut, 
to this consummation ; and there are those in Eussia 
who see clearly enough the great commercial future 
that, with proper management, may await the Trans- 
caspian line. In 1886, M. Palashkofski, builder of 
the Caucasian Eailway, proposed the formation of a 
company in order to buy the line as far as the Oxus, 
on condition of a Crown guarantee of four-and-a-half 
per cent, interest on the shares to be issued, and a 

1 No. 342 of the Annual Series of Foreign Office Eeports, 1888. 


yearly subsidy from the Government for militarj 
transport. Though the capital subscribed would 
have been acceptable to the Russian Government, the 
proposal was not entertained, being in direct conflict 
with the present imperial policy. Quite lately, how- 
ever, rumours have been heard of a great mercantile 
combination which is to embrace Eastern Europe 
and the whole of Central Asia, including Persia and 
Afghanistan, witli the Transcaspian Railway as its 
pivot. Simultaneously, it is announced that the in- 
creasing need for banking accommodation in Central 
Asia is to be met either by the foundation of a new 
Caspian Bank, with branches in each of the leading 
Asiatic cities, or by extending the operations of 
already existing institutions, such as the Imperial 
Russian Bank, or the Caucasus and Mercury Trading 
Company. These vague reports, which illustrate a 
growing confidence in the enterprise, tend also to 
attach credit to the statement, recently circulated, 
that General AnuenkofFs line is already beginning to 
defray its working expenses, and that whispers of a 
surplus have actually been heard. 1 

Finally, I pass to the strategical consequences of 

1 The Pall Mall Gazette, in June 1889, published the report of an 
interview with General Annenkoff, in which he declared that in 1888 
the Transcaspian BaUway yielded a net profit of 50,00(K. ; gross receipts 
having been 240,0002., expenses 190,OOOJ.; and that in 1889 8 per cent, 
would be paid to the shareholders. As there are no shareholders but 
the Government, we must attribute the latter remark to the faulty com- 
prehension of the interviewer. From later information wo learn that 
between January 1 and June 1, 1889, there were conveyed by the 
Transcaspian Kailway 49,410 tons of goods, including 14,762 tons of 
Asiatic cotton, 11,568 tons of cereals, 6,379 tons of sugar, 834 tons of 
linen, 39 tons of silk, and 817 tons of manufactured articles. 



strategical the Transcaspiaii Railway, in discussing which I 

conso- A ^ ... 

cmanceaof speak with the deference incumbent upon a civilian, 
though T do not approach the .subject without con- 
sultation with others amply qualified on military 
grounds to pronounce an opinion. 

shifting of In this con text (.lie first and most patent conse- 
gr&vitym qiieiice of the railway is that entire shifting of the 
Asia (Hint re of gravity in Central Asia to which I have 

more than once called attention in previous chapters, 
the supersession of Turkestan by Transcaspia, the 
dethronement of Tashkent by Askabad. For the 
first fifteen years of Russian dominion in Central 
Asia, Tashkent was the pivot round which all 
revolved, the military and administrative capital, the 
cradle of policy, the starting-point of action. 
Kaufmann and Tchernaieff were successively the 
arbiters of the East, and in their authority and inde- 
pendence resembled an ancient satrap rather than a 
modern viceroy. When in the summer of 1878, just 
before the signature of the Treaty of Berlin, it was 
thought desirable by llussia to make a hostile 
demonstration against Great Britain in the East, a 
fact which no student of the Central Asian question 
should ever lose sight of in his diagnosis of the 
situation, it was from Tashkent that an expedition 
of 20,000 men was equipped and led by Kaufmann 
himself vid Samarkand to Jam, on the Bokharan 
frontier, in order to menace, and, if necessary, to 
invade, Afghanistan. It was from Tashkent that the 
Pamir column, under General AbramofT, started 
through Ferghana and the Alai to operate in the 


direction of Kashmir. It was from Tashkent that 
the Stolietoff Mission was simultaneously despatched 
across the Oxus and the Hindu Kush to Kabul. No 
other line of attack upon India was then either 
possible or conceivable ; for on the other or western 
side the Russians were as yet only precariously 
established at Krasnovodsk and Tchikishliar on the 
eastern shores of the Caspian, and GOO miles of hos- 
tile wilderness separated them from the north-west 
outposts of Afghanistan. In twenty years, however, 
there has been a wonderful change. With the 
successes of Skobeleff, Transcaspia threw down her 
first challenge to Turkestan. Geok Tepe, Askabad, 
Sarakhs, Merv, and Penjdeh marked the successive 
stages of the friendly rivalry. Every league of 
advance towards Afghanistan was a new point to 
the gain of Askabad, to the loss of Tashkent. The 
former had a boundless horizon of activity ; the 
latter was forced to sit still. General AnneiikofTs 
railway has now put the coping-stone upon the 
edifice ; and the Russian Governor-Generalship of 
Transcaspia, whether dependent or independent, 
emerges a solid and substantial structure, command- 
ing the nearest approach, and congratulating itself 
upon the inheritance of the keys to the Indian 
Empire of the British Crown. Established at 
Askabad, at Sarakhs, and at Merv, with frontier 
outposts at Pul-i-Khatun and Penjdeh, with a rail- 
way station only ninety miles from Sarakhs, which 
itself is only 170 miles from Herat, Russia has ac- 
quired and has fortified a new line of advance, and 


has planted her foot on the path which every Indian 
conqueror has trod from Alexander to Nadir Shah. 
Greater But the significance of the situation consists not 

so much in what lies in front of her present or 
future outposts as in what lies behind. Hitherto 
a hostile movement against India has involved the 
operation of an advanced army severed from its base 
by vast distances, by rivers of great width, and by 
mountain barriers of enormous height. Had Kauf- 
mann marched upon India through Afghanistan in 
1878, he would have had first to cross the Oxus, and 
then to climb the Hindu Kush, and even so would 
only have found himself at Kabul with the passes of 
the Sufeid Koh and Suleiman ranges between him 
and the Indus ; whilst his real base at Orenburg, the 
furthest point of the then existing railway system, 
would have been separated from him by two 
thousand miles and by months of time. Hence- 
forward a similar design may find its execution from 
the opposite quarter, and can rest upon an unbroken 
line of connection by steam traffic with the heart of 
the empire and the arsenals of European Eussia. At 
Sarakhs or at Takhta-Bazar the Eussian commander 
is in communication by wire with Tiflis and St. 
Petersburg. He can summon to his aid the resources 
of the Caucasus from Baku, or of European Eussia 
from the Volga ; and transporting both or either 
from the eastern shore of the Caspian by a line of 
railway invulnerable to flank attack, can launch 
them against the fortifications of Herat or even 
meditate a sustained inarch to the Helmund. 


Or let me illustrate the development in the Compari- 

. n f p 

present situation by a comparison with quite recent sent with 

times. I have already shown the difficulties under 
which an invasion of Afghanistan from the north 
would have laboured, and would still labour, if con- 
sidered apart by itself. Let us imagine, however, 
that Eussia had, at any time during the last twenty 
years, contemplated such a move from the opposite or 
western quarter. How would she have been situated, 
and what would have been her chances as compared 
with those of England? I will take the two periods 
of 1878 and 1885, the dates respectively of the flight 
of Shir Ali from Kabul, and the affray on the Kushk, 
both of them occasions on which the possibility of 
hostilities presented itself very clearly to the Russian 
mind. Had the Russians contemplated an invasion 
of Afghanistan in the spring of 1879, their nearest 
forces at Krasnovodsk would have been separated by 
700 miles from Herat, the intervening desert being 
occupied by savage and hostile tribes, flushed with 
recent victory over Lomakin's battalions. The 
British, in possession of Kandahar, were only 390 
miles distant, an advantage to the British of 310 
miles. As late even as 1883, before Merv had been 
annexed, and while the railway terminus was still at 
Kizil Arvat, the late Sir 0. MacGregor, then Quarter- 
master-General in India, who displayed a surer 
insight into the military situation than any con- 
temporary officer or statesman, wrote as follows : 

I am having two papers got ready one to show how soon 
we could put J 0,000 men into Herat, another how soon the 


Russians could do the same. We are about equal now, and 
we could beat them ; lut every dtnj tells against us. 1 

How true were these concluding words is shown 
by the contrast presented within less than two years. 
In April 1885, when the two countries trembled on 
the brink of war, the situation had positively been 
reversed. The nominal Eussian outposts were now 
at Sarakhs, only 170 miles from Herat, while a Cos- 
sack force was actually in possession of Pul-i-Khatun, 
forty miles further to the south. In the meantime 
the British had increased instead of diminishing their 
distance, having retreated to Quetta, a distance of 
500 miles from Herat, so that the balance of advan- 
tage had swung round to the opposite side. Finally, 
I contrast both these positions with that of the 
present year. At this moment the most advanced 
point of the Russian frontier, as settled by the Joint 
Commission, is at Chihil Dukhtaran, where is the 
23rd boundary pillar, exactly fifty-five miles as the 
crow flies from Herat. The British have pushed for- 
ward a modest seventy miles from Quetta to Chaman, 
but are still 4GO miles from Herat. These figures will 
prove more plainly than any number of words the pro- 
digious change I will go further, and say the absolute 
transformation in the scene which the Transcaspian 
conquests of the Czar have brought about, and the 
seal upon which has been set by the completion of 
the new railway. It means that the power of menace, 
which the ability to take Herat involves, has passed 
from English to Russian hands; that the Russian 

1 Life and Opinions of Sir C. MacGregor> vol. ii. p. 316. 


seizure of Herat is now a matter not so much of war 
as of time ; and that the Eussians will thus, without 
an effort, win the first hand in the great game that is 
destined to be played for the empire of the East. 

These are the advantages as regards situation and Russian 

to fo power of 

opportunity which their Transcaspian conquests, and attack 
the railway as its sequel, have placed in the Russians' 
hands. I now propose to show to what extent they 
will be able to utilise them, and what are the counter- 
advantages or possibilities to be credited to Great 

In the event of war being declared between Eng- Lines of 
land and Eussia, and the latter deciding upon an 
invasion of Afghanistan, there would be open to her 
two main lines of advance (1) vid the Transcaspian 
Eailway and Herat, (2) vid Samarkand and Kilif, or 
vid the Oxus and Kerki upon Afghan Turkestan, and 
ultimately upon Kabul. A third column might be 
expected to operate in the direction of the upper 
Oxus and the Pamir, endeavouring to effect a descent 
by lofty but available passes upon Chitral or Gilgit, 
and requiring a British counter-movement on the 
side of Kashmir. With the proceedings of this flank 
diversion, which might be troublesome but could 
not be really serious, I am not in this chapter con- 
cerned to deal. Our attention may for the moment 
be confined to the two former and principal lines of 

In June 1883, Sir C. MacGregor wrote the follow- i. Caspian 

. ^ .and Herat 

ing letter to Major the Hon. G. C. Napier, than which imo 
no clearer illustration could be quoted of the character 


of the problem, and the proper method to approach 
its solution. If I do not follow in detail its sugges- 
tions, it is because I am dealing with broad con- 
siderations of statesmanship rather than with the 
technical minutice of a military plan of campaign, and 
because upon the latter a layman is wholly unqualified 
to pronounce. 

I should be obliged if you could write a paper, showing 
how soon the Russians could put a force of 20,000 men down 
at Herat. Work it out as though you had to put that 
number of men there, and show where you could get the 
troops from ; where they would embark; how long they would 
take to get to the east coast (of the Caspian) ; how long to 
disembark ; what route they would take (1) supposing Persia 
was openly on their side, (2) if she was passive, (3) if she 
was hostile; what supplies would they require; what baggage; 
what transport they would have to take at least two heavy 
batteries with them ; what would be the best means which 
could be devised for ensuring that we should receive very 
early and reliable information of what Russia was doing. 1 

stmgth The normal strength of the Russian forces in 

ttonofiiie Transcaspia is about 14,000 men. This includes 
forcoJ in eleven or twelve infantry battalions, one brigade or 
two regiments of Cossacks, companies of which are 
scattered along the frontier, and four batteries of 
artillery with thirty guns. In the spring of this year, 
in anticipation of possible trouble upon the Afghan 
frontier, this total was reported to have been increased 
by several thousand men. The points at which the 
troops are chiefly concentrated are Kizil Arvat, 
Askabad, Oeok Tepe, Sarakhs, Merv, and Amu Baria. 

1 Life and Opinions* vol. ii. p. 815. 


Detachments are also distributed among the more 
advanced posts of Kaahka, Pul-i-Khatun, Takhta 
Bazar, and along the line of the Murghab at Meruchak, 
Sari Yazi, and Imam Baba. 1 But little delay would 
be experienced in placing these forces in the field, 
seeing that they are already almost upon a war foot- 
ing. Garrison duty would, however, detain one-third 
if not one-half of the total number. To the available 
strength must be added the local militia, at present 
only three hundred strong, but capable, as I have 
before pointed out, of large and rapid extension. 

At this point the enormous utility of the Trans- Reinforce- 

- mentsfrom 

Caspian Kail way becomes apparent, as the first line Europe 
of communication through the Caspian with the 
Caucasus and with Europe i.e. with the armies of 
Tiflis, and of European Russia south of Moscow. 
The former has a nominal strength on a peace foot- 
ing of 101,500, and a mobilised strength of 270,000 
men, and would naturally be set in motion from 
Tiflis and Baku, or perhaps if the battalions called 
out were stationed on the north of the Caucasus 
Range, from Vladikavkas and Petrovsk. The European 
contingent would be deposited by rail on the Volga 
at Saratov and Tsaritsin, and would consist of such 
troops as could be spared from the army corps of 
Moscow, Kharkov, and Kazan. Carried in river 
steamers down to Astrakhan, they would be trans- 
shipped there for Uzun Ada. It is conceivable that " 
a joint army of 150,000, or even of 200,000 men 

1 Vide the narrative of the Comte de Cholet, Voyage en Turkestan, 
pp. 106, 120, 181, 199. 


might, in the event of no complications being appre- 
hended on the western frontiers of Russia, be detached 
for Central Asian service from these two bases, and 
might, witli no great delay, be placed upon the 
western shores of the Caspian. 
Difficulty Here, however, the Eussians would be confronted 

of CaBpian 

marine w ith their first difficulty, arising from the dearth of 
marine transport. The last ten years have witnessed 
an astonishing development of navigation on the 
Caspian, the petroleum industry of Baku in particular 
being responsible for an entire fleet of magnificent 
steamers, owned by private firms, and specially con- 
structed for the carriage of oil. Nor has the Govern- 
ment been altogether idle ; for in addition to the 
subsidised fleet of the Caucasus and Mercury Com- 
pany, whose vessels were used for military transport 
in the Turkoman campaigns, and would again be 
serviceable, there is a small naval flotilla, consisting 
of gunboats, armed steamers, and steam barges, with 
a complement of less than 1,000 men. No call has 
arisen for the augmentation of this force, the Persians 
being prohibited by treaty from keeping any men-of- 
war, or building any forts, upon the Caspian, which 
is therefore very justly described as a Russian lake, 
whereupon no hostile attacks need be apprehended. 

Latcs The latest returns of the Caspian marine (Sep- 

tember 1888) show that the Government possess 70 
steamers of varying tonnage, and that 10 new iron 
steamboats were added in the past year. The total 
number of steamers in the merchant fleet of the Cas- 
pian at the same time was 790. Of sailing vessels there 


is of course a much larger number (from 1,200 1,500). 
It has recently been proposed by a Nijni Novgorod 
firm to establish a naval dockyard at one of the prin- 
cipal ports. The above figures show that, as regards 
numbers, the Russians would be in no want of vessels. 
How far (lie latter would be suited to purposes of 
transport, and with what speed they could convoy 
large bodies of troops to the opposite shore, is a matter 
of greater uncertainty. Anyhow naval transport must 
be reckoned upon as a certain difficulty at the start, 
and as a probable delay to aggressive movements. 

A second difficulty would arise from the inade- Difficulty 
quate and backward facilities for disembarkation places mg " 
upon the eastern shore. Uzun Ada in its present 
condition is quite unsuited for the speedy or con- 
tinuous discharge of large bodies of troops, or 
unlading of animals and stores, affording a shallow 
anchorage at the best, besides being frequently frozen 
over in the winter. Krasnovodsk would be the best 
and obvious landing-place, but is not yet connected 
by rail with the main line. 

The troops once landed upon the eastern shore, Difficulty 
the railway would of course transport them to the BUpple3 
front with as much rapidity as the amount of available 
rolling-stock and the stability of the line, points upon 
which I have already dwelt, would allow. At this 
juncture however would emerge, in all its seriousness, 
the third and main difficulty, occasioned by the lack 
of supplies, the scarcity of forage and fuel, and the in- 
sufficient provision of transport animals. How serious 
is this question of food alone, few probably who have 


not had some experience of warfare can realise. 
The late Colonel Home in his ' Precis of Military 
Tactics ' compared an army on the march with a very 
large city, and thus contrasted the two situations : 

Each day Ji large city receives its daily supply of food. 
There is no stint nor stay for those who can purchase. Long 
custom and gradual improvements have opened up easy 
means of communication between the consumer and the 
producer. It is different with an army. An army is a city 
Hung down suddenly in the country, each day moving, each 
day requiring fresh alterations in the arrangements by which 
food is conveyed froin the producer to the consumer. Yet 
this portion of the art of war one of the most, if not the 
most important receives but scant notice. 

In a country like Transcaspia these difficulties 
would be abnormally severe. It would be too much 
to expect the Turkoman oases, which barely support 
their present meagre population, to provide suste- 
nance in addition for several scores of thousand armed 
men with their baggage animals and camp following. 
In the campaign of 1880 81, Skobeleff was almost 
wholly dependent for his grain supplies upon Northern 
Persia. Many scores of pages in General GrodekofFs 
account of the war are devoted to the record of that 
officer's labours, on behalf of the victualling depart- 
ment, in Khorasan ; and after SkobelefF's first recon- 
naissance, nearly five months were spent in collecting 
and concentrating supplies in Transcaspia before the 
forward move was made. After the fall of Geok Tepe 
and seizure of Askabad, it was the exhaustion of sup- 
plies, rather than pacific intentions, that prevented the 


Eussians from occupying in force the Atek oasis, and 
even pushing on as far as the Tejend. 

In time of war grain would also be required in en- import- 

11 1-1 ance of 

ormous quantities for the horses, mules, and camels ; Khorasan 
whilst of the latter, if any serious forward inarch were 
meditated either upon the Ilelmund or into Afghan 
Turkestan, at least 100,000 would be necessary, at 
the average rate in Central Asian warfare of one 
camel per man, or, in other words, as large a number 
as exists in the whole of Transcaspia. In the total 
absence of timber the fuel needed for cooking and 
other practical purposes would have to be imported. 
These considerations throw a light upon the immense 
importance which Russia attaches to the control of 
Khorasan, a country well-wooded, of abundant fertility 
and great natural resources. They explain her 
feverish eagerness to strengthen her hold in that 
quarter ; and they suggest the conjecture that no 
forward move on a large scale will be attempted till 
that wealthy province is wholly in her hands. In any 
case, the paucity of local contributions renders it 
certain that an army advancing from the Caspian 
must be largely dependent for its supplies upon 
European Russia ; and the conveyance of these by 
train to the front, and return of empty wagons, would 
both exhaust a good deal of the available rolling- 
stock, and by occupying the line, would retard the 
despatch of troops to the theatre of war. 

I do not include in the category of impediments complicity 
to Russia's advance the likelihood of her communica- ersm 
tions being cut by a flank attack, or of the railroad 


being torn up between the Caspian and 1 hishak, hope- 
ful as some English writers appear to be of such a 
(Contingency. Flank attack from the north over the 
barren waste of the Kara Kuiu is a physical impossi- 
bility ; over the Persian mountains from the south a 
practical impossibility. Were Persia hostile to Russia, 
connection with Teheran could easily be cut off at 
the narrow neck of land, only sixty miles broad, be- 
tween Astrabad and Shahrud ; whilst the Persian 
troops in Khorasan by themselves are not worth a 
row of ninepins. But Persia is not., and, when war 
breaks out, will not be hostile to Russia. On the 
contrary, Russia will not go to war unless she has 
assured herself, not merely of Persian neutrality, but 
of Persian connivance ; and those who talk of a 
Persian alliance to co-operate with England in the 
defence of Khorasan, or in an attack upon Trans- 
caspia, are doing the worst service they can to their 
country by beguiling her with the most phantas- 
magorical and hopeless of illusions. 

Addition to The considerations which I have named above, 
rower'of while they modify the alarm which might at first 
thought be excited by the position and strength of 
Russia in Transcaspia, and while they justify the belief 
that a larger army than 50,000 men could not without 
considerable delay be placed, or without vast prepa- 
ration be maintained, upon the Russo-Afghan frontier 
from this side, do not substantially alter the central 
and all-important fact, viz. that a movement upon 
Herat, the Ilelmund, or Kandahar, which four years 
ago was almost an impossibility by this route, has, 


since the completion of the Transcaspian liailway, 
become a measure of practicable strategy, and has 
thereby more than duplicated the offensive strength 
of Kussia in Asia. When we include in our survey 
the forces of Turkestan, and remember that an hide- 
pendent though allied movement would simulta- 
neously be in course of execution from that quarter, 
we shall better understand how tremendous that 
strength has now become. 

So far our attention has been confined to Trans- 
caspia. Turning thence to Turkestan, we find that ofTurke- 

* titan army 

in that dominion there is a present force of some 
30,000 men, of 5,000 horses, and of GO guns, partly 
scattered over a wide extent, but the main and most 
available elements of which are stationed at Tashkent 
and Samarkand, with advanced detachments at Katta 
Kurgan on the TJokharan frontier, and at Kerki on 
the Oxus. Of this army, reinforced as it might be by 
a large contingent from the neighbouring military 
district of Omsk, at least 20,000, if not 30,000 men, 
might be forthcoming for active service, the reserves 
being called out for garrison duty in Turkestan. Nor 
would such a force operate alone ; for, in face of the 
difficulty attending the transport and sustenance of 
very large bodies of men from the Caspian, other 
marching routes might be adopted by which the re- 
sources of European Eussia might be transported to 
Samarkand and the Oxus, either by the Orenburg 
postal road to Tashkent, or by the waterway of the 
Oxus to Tcharjui. Duration of time must be postu- 
lated of the former route, uncertainty, arising from 



the precarious river navigation, of the second ; whilst 
in both cases the winter months would not be avail- 
able as a season for advance, which could only be 
effected in the early spring or summer. Nevertheless 
the Turkestan army might by these means be doubled 
in numbers ; while the force so congregated could 
either, if required, effect a junction with the Trans- 
raspian column at Merv, or, as is much more pro- 
bable, might be equipped to execute an independent 
attack upon Afghan Turkestan, descending upon the 
ferries of the Oxus at Kerki or Kilif and marching 
vid Balkh and Tashkurgan upon Bamian, and the 
passes of the Hindu Kush that lead to Kabul. Diffi- 
culties of transport, supplies, and forage would attend 
and hamper the Turkestan, no less than the Trans- 
caspian, column, and were in fact experienced by 
Kaufmann's threatened expedition in 1878. But the 
fertility of the Zerafshan. basin, as well as the great 
resources of Bokhara, which would now be placed 
entirely at the disposal of Russia (as they were not 
then), would vanquish these obstacles, and render 
the Eastern army less dependent upon its base than 
the Western. 
Total Comparing and combining the probable strength 

Russian t t 

strength of the two forces, we may arrive at the conclusion that 

forinva- / J 

* ion it would be possible for Russia, after long preparation, 
and at a suitable season of the year, to place, by the 
aid of the Transcaspian Railway, in conjunction with 
previously existing facilities, a twofold force of 
100,000 men in all upon the North-west and Northern 
frontiers of Afghanistan. Sir Charles MacGregor, in 


his famous unpublished memorandum on the Defence 
of India, summed up his argument with the conclu- 
sion that Russia could put 95,000 regulars, within 
eighty to one hundred days from the period of sum- 
mons, into a position whence she could undertake the 
invasion of India ; l an opinion with which my own 
argument is fortunate in finding itself in harmony. 
The further, however, she advanced from her double 
base, the greater, as has frequently been remarked, 
would be the difficulty and danger connected with 
the provision of supplies. Skobeleff once said that 
it was useless to think of invading India without an 
army of 1 50,000 men 60,000 to enter the country 
and 90,000 to guard the communications. The two 
last totals might now change places, the Russian 
position being so well assured that mutiny in the rear 
or attack upon the Hank is improbable, and that a 
relatively much larger force might therefore be de- 
tached for invasion than would be required cither for 
gartison service or to guard the lines. The calcula- 
tions I have given will show that the sum-totals are 
not so overwhelming as to be beyond all means of 
realisation ; whilst, if they were, the danger would 
not be by one whit diminished of what is a more pro- 
bable contingency by far than so ambitious a pro- 
gramme, namely, a swoop either upon Herat or upon 
Afghan Turkestan in sufficient force to occupy and to 
hold either of those districts, but with no immediate 
intention of pushing onwards either to Kandahar or 
the Hindu Rush. This is the peril which England has 

1 Life and Opinions, vol. ii. p. 842 seq. 



to face ; and within this more limited range of action 
t he Transcaspian Hallway has given Russia a vantage- 
ground of incalculable importance. 

strength What, however, is the reply that Great Britain 

Indian would have it in her power to make to such a chal- 

army for 

offonmvn l(n<rc? The present st length of the British forces in 


Fudia is almost exactly 70,000 British and 148,000 
native troops. Of the former certainly not more than 
one-half and of the latter an even less proportion could 
either be spared for frontier defence or could be kept 
in the field for any length of time. If the 100,000 
men so engaged were further to be divided into three 
sections, to operate respectively against armies ad- 
vancing from Herat, Balkh, and the Pamir, it is clear 
that from a numerical point of view the situation 
would not be a sufficiently favourable one. It must 
further be remembered that of the British forces the 
major part would be native troops, of the Russian 
none at all with the exception of the light cavalry, 
and, however gallantly the Sikhs and Ghoorkas and 
Indian native cavalry, or even the Sepoys, might or 
would fight, they would necessarily be placed at a 
disadvantage when competing with the trained Euro- 
pean soldiers of the Czar. I have not taken into 
account the armies of the feudatory princes in India, 
numerically important though they be ; because little 
reliance could be placed as yet upon their disci- 
pline, and perhaps not too much upon their loyalty ; 
and in any case they would be good for little but 
garrison service. Sir Charles Dilke, in the second of 
his recent most interesting articles upon the Indian 


frontier, 1 gives figures substantially corresponding with 
the above. He speaks of two army corps, of 35,000 
men each, half European and half Indian, as being 
organised on paper, and capable of mobilisation for a 
field army, with a reserve of 15,000 men, whose place, 
however, would have to be filled by six battalions 
from England. He calculates that the first army corps 
could be placed at Kandahar six weeks from the date 
of mobilisation, and the second army corps at Kanda- 
har or Kabul in three months ; figures which do not 
differ substantially from the immediate capacities of 
Russia in relation to Herat. 

When, however, we turn from the question of 
available troops and the probable period of their ad- 
vance, to that of reinforcements, whatever advantage, 
if any, Great Britain may claim on the former score, 
vanishes altogether, or rather is converted into a 
serious, deficit. While Eussia can bring up her re- 
serves from the Caspian, as soon as they are ready 
there, to the point of disembarkation from the railway 
train, in the inside of a week, and can place them 
upon the frontier in three weeks or a month, Eng- 
land requires nearly four weeks for her reinforcements 
to reach Kurrachi, arid at least a week, under the 
most favourable circumstances, from there to the 
present frontier ; while the figures previously given 
have shown the latter to be removed by several hun- 
dred miles from the probable theatre of war and open- 
ing scene of conflict. We cannot resist the conclusion, 

1 The Baluch and Afghan Frontiers of India.' No. II. Fort- 
niglilly Review, April 1889. 


therefore, that England is deplorably in arrear of her 
rival in point of time. 

The issue I am not saying that these inequalities need have 
any appreciable effect upon the final issue ; for most 
Englishmen have that faith in British character, for- 
tified by the lessons of English history, which would 
enable them to await the denouement without alarm. 
Nor am I saying that, handicapped as she might find 
herself both in numbers and in time, Great Britain 
would not be able to make an effective retort, even in 
Afghanistan, to a Russian menace. That is a question 
which I am not called upon to discuss here. 1 I am 
now merely pointing out the extent to which the 
relative position of the two Powers has been modified 
by recent events in Central Asia, and contrasting the 
initial advantages which they respectively enjoy. I 
am showing that while English statesmen have 
chattered in Parliament, or poured gallons of ink 
over reams of paper in diplomatic futilities at the 
Foreign Office, liussia, our only admitted rival in the 
East, has gone continuously and surely to work, pro- 
ceeding by the three successive stages of conquest, as- 
similation, and consolidation ; and that at this moment, 
whether her strength be estimated by topographical 
or by numerical considerations, she occupies for 
offensive purposes in Central Asia a position immea- 
surably superior to that of England, and for defensive 
purposes one practically impregnable. 

If it be objected to me that I am attributing to 

1 I havo endeavoured briefly to do so in an article, entitled * Our 
True Policy in India,' in the National Review for March 1889. 

General Annenkoff 's railway a character and intention Russian 

views of 

as a means 

which its promoters would be loth to admit, and 

A ^ t 

crediting it with a deliberate share in infamous de- 


signs, I answer that though General Annenkoff foffeno 
himself has not ignored, but on the contrary has 
persistently vindicated its commercial pretensions, 
that is not the object with which the railway was 
originally made, nor is it the light in which it is re- 
garded by the bulk of Eussians. It is a trivial 
but significant fact that the Eussian illustrated news- 
papers, in publishing pictures of the line and its 
surroundings both during and since its construction, 
have invariably headed the engravings with the words 
4 On the road to India/ Upon the opening of the last 
section of the railway as far as Samarkand in May 
1888, General Soboleffof the General Staff, one of the 
foremost Eussian tacticians, and the Eussian historian 
of the last Anglo-Afghan war, published an article in 
St. Petersburg, in which he reaffirmed his favourite 
contention of the possibility of a Eussian invasion of 
India, and hailed the Transcaspian Eailway as the 
beginning of the end, which end was to be nothing 
short of a future Eussian campaign across the Indus. 
General Prjevalski, in one of his latest letters, dated 
from Samarkand only a month before my visit to 
Transcaspia, recorded his opinion of the line, over which 
he had just travelled, in these words : ' Altogether the 
railway is a bold undertaking, of great significance, 
especially from a military point of view in the future.' 
Prjevalski was somewhat of a fire-eater, and no friend 
of England ; so that for anyone acquainted with his 


character, it is quite unnecessary to put the dots on 
his i's. That Russian sympathisers in the foreign 
press indulge in similar anticipations, may be illus- 
trated by the following extract, translated from the 
work of a French writer, which has 110 other impor- 
tance than the candid testimony it affords of the wide- 
spread existence of this malignant spirit. 1 

Such is the man (i.e. Annenkoff) who has just struck a 
terrible blow at English power in India. If the end of this 
century has witnessed 110 change in the respective positions 
of the Russians and English in Asia, wo may expect that 
the first years of the new century will produce a sensible 
modification in the attitude and power of the two adversaries. 
The way is traced ; the roml is free. The Russians are ad- 
vancing with giant strides, and by a peaceful conquest. The 
Knglish are hated, their authority is crumbling, their prestige 
vanishing. The hour is drawing near when they will at 
length have to pay the penalty in India for their intrigues 
and villanies in Europe. The day when Russia advances 
into the country, and proclaims as a reality the hope of 
which the inhabitants have long dreamed, all India will rise 
to march in her vanguard and drive the English out. Im- 
patient spirits need not wait for long. General Annenkoff 
lias fashioned the dagger which will be planted in the very 
heart of English power in India. If he were not already 
French at heart, this distinction alone would serve to make 
him as popular in France as he is in Russia. 

"Pitiful rubbish in truth this is ; but, as the writer 
claims to have uttered it without rebuff to General 
Annenkoff himself, it may be quoted as typical of the 
meaner ravings of Russophile Jingoism. 

1 Rnsscs ct AutricMens en robe de chambre. Par Theo. Crit 
(Theodore Calm), 1888. 




Rambtircs. That island of England breeds very valiant creatures ; their 
mastiffs arc of unmatchable courage. 

Orleans. Foolish curs I that run winking into the mouth of a Russian 
boar, and have their heads crushed like rotten apples. You may as well 
say, that's a valiant flea that dare eat his breakfast on the lip of a lion. 

SHAKSPEAHK, Henry V., Act iii. Sc. vii. 

It is a d d big question, and I should be glad to think only two or 
three were gathered together to think it out ; but no one seems to care a two- 
penny dam. It will not come in their day, but I think it will come in yours 
and mine, and I can't help seeing its magnitude and our carelessness. 

Letter of SIK C. MAcGiuwoii to SIR F. UOBEKTH, AIICJ. 13, 1883. 

Existence of the problem Personal impressions-- Haphazard charac- 
ter of Russian foreign policy Arising from form of government 
Independence of frontier officers Responsibility for Russian 
mala fides Compulsory character of Russian advance Russian 
conquest of India a chimera Russian attack upon India a danger 
Candid avowal of Skobeleff Evidence of past history Schemes 
of Russian invasion : (i.) 1791, (ii.) 1800, (iii.) 1807, (iv.) 1837, 
(v.) 1855 Gortchakoff-Granvillo agreement of 1872-78- (vi.) 
1878 Skobeleff's plan for the invasion of India Military opera- 
tions Later movements Subsequent schemes Civilian endorse- 
ment --M. Zinovieff Reality of Anglo-Russian Question now 
universally admitted Russian illusions about British rule in 
India Evidence of Russian generals Real feeling in India- 
Regrettable Russian ignorance Russian lines of invasion : (i.) 
From the Pamir, (ii.) From Samarkand and the Oxus New 
Russo-Afghan frontier- (iii.) Upon Herat Corresponding Indian 
frontier Diagram of the two railway systems Comparison of 
the rival advantages England's obligations to Afghanistan 
Their right interpretation Reductio ad absurdum Counter- 
obligations of Afghanistan British relations with Afghanistan 
in the past Synopsis of policy pursuedCharacter of Abdurrah- 


man Khan His health and the future Suggested partition 
of Afghanistan The Afghan armySentiments of the Afghans 
towards llussia and England The future of Afghan independence 
Prestige of Russian numbers Policy of appointing British 
officers in Afghanistan Impending developments of the Anglo- 
KuBsian question (i.) lialkh-Kabul line of advance (ii.) The 
Persian question Russian ascendency and Persian weakness 
Real aim of Russian policy in Persia An eye upon the Persian 
Gulf- -British policy in rejoinder Opening up of Seistan Effects 
of u Seistan railway- -Summary of this chapter. 

Existence HUT perhaps it may be said that neither the construc- 
tioii of the Transcaspian Hallway, nor the inimical 
pretensions with which some persons have credited 
it, can justify the expression of any real alarm as to 
the relations of Great Britain and Russia in the East, 
and that the theory of present danger or future com- 
plication is a dogmatist's dream. I proceed therefore 
to discuss the question whether there is, and, if so, 
why there is an Anglo-Russian Problem at all, to 
state the reasons for belief in its positive existence, 
to explain its present aspect, and to indicate its pro- 
bable development in the near future. In so doing, 
I shall appeal for evidence to my own observations 
in the country, to the lessons of history, and to the 
published opinions of Russian officers and statesmen. 
In the first place let me say that I am prepared 

imprea- A " . 

Kiona. to make hum* and perhaps uncommon concessions to 

Haphazard ^ * \ 

character the Russophile hypothesis, not for argument's sake, 
kut Because ^ ie ) f are demanded by truth, which has 
too often been distorted or lost sight of by both 
parties in the wordy conflict. I am not one of those 
who hold that Russian policy has, either for a century 
or for half a century, or for a less period, been 
animated by an unswerving and Machiavellian pur- 


pose, the object of which is the overthrow of British 
rule iu India, and to which every forward movement 
is strictly subordinated. When I was in St. Peters- 
burg there appeared an article in the English 6 Stan- 
dard ' which drove the Russian papers into a fury, 
by likening their advance in Asia to that of a great 
glacier crushing everything before it with merciless 
persistence, and, though its vanguard may be broken 
off and destroyed, ever driven onward by the irresist- 
ible pressure of the snows i.e. the Russian Foreign 
Office behind. A more mistaken idea cannot, T 
believe, be entertained. So far from regarding the 
foreign policy of Russia as consistent, or remorseless, 
or profound, I believe it to be a hand-to-mouth policy, 
a policy of waiting upon events, of profiting by the 
blunders of others, and as often of committing the 
like herself. Her attitude, for instance, towards 
Bulgaria and the Christian nationalities emancipated 
by the Treaty of Berlin, has been one long series of 
unredeemed and almost inconceivable blunders. The 
sole advantages that she has so far reaped from the 
settlement of South-east Europe, to which she then 
consented, have been the abdications of the two 
sovereigns, Alexander of Bulgaria, and Milan of Servia, 
and it is not yet clear whether or to what extent she 
will ultimately be the gainer by either. 

Nor can I imagine any other policy as possible Arising 

, , -, , from form 

under a remme where there is 110 united counsel or of govern- 

, . . 

plan of action ; but where the independence of in- 
dividual generals or governors is modified only by the 
personal authority of the Emperor, whose will may 


override the unanimous vote of his Council of Minis- 
ters, and whose irresponsible fiat, so far from being a 
guarantee for stability of conduct, too often results in 
incoherence. A sovereign with a very strong charac- 
ter may impart a particular bias to the national policy, 
or stamp it with the die of his own individuality. 
Hut. in the very immensity of his independence there 
is latitude for immensity of error ; while a weak man, 
or a man easily guided by others, and, as is common 
with such natures, by a succession of counsellors, 
may create a policy of alternate bravado and vacilla- 
tion, of mingled strength and imbecility. The Eussian 
Government has often been as surprised at its own 
successes as rival States have been alarmed, and there 
is reason to believe that the Kushk episode in 1 885, 
so far from being, as was supposed in England, part 
of a deep-laid design, was an impromptu on the part 
of KomarofT and AlikhanofT that burst with as much 
novelty upon the* Foreign Office of St. Petersburg as 
it did upon that of Whitehall. 

The one department in which Eussian Ministers 
frontier have always shown themselves proficient has been in 

officers . . .. 

turning to good account alike the unexpected services 
of their own adherents and the unhoped-for blunders 
of their adversaries. Should a Eussian frontier officer 
make an unauthorised move involving the rupture of 
some diplomatic agreement, but resulting in success, 
his offence is condoned and excused ; in the case of 
failure he is easily disavowed. It is scarcely possible 
to over-estimate the degree in which the extension of 
Eussian dominion, particularly in Central Asia, has 


been due to the personal ambition of individuals, 
acting in rash independence of orders from home. 
When the aggression has taken place and the con- 
quest been made, the Russians are sufficiently cognisant 
of the A 15 C of Oriental politics, which a far longer 
experience has never taught the English to acquire, 
not to retreat from the position taken or the advantage 
gained. Tchernaieff was recalled in 1860 for having 
exceeded his orders ; but the very steps which he 
had taken wore pushed still further by his successor 
Romanovski ; while the general himself was ultimately 
sent back as Governor-General to the province from 
which as Commander-in-Chief he had been recalled. 
Success is more commonly rewarded at once by a 
decoration and a jewelled sword from St. Petersburg, 
every such mark of the Imperial approbation being 
an incentive to the activity of those still unadorned. 

The condition of affairs I have described is indeed 
inseparable from a system where military is every- Russian 

, , . -. /. ., -. , malafidca 

where substituted for civil organisation, and where 
the work that requires the genius of the statesman is 
entrusted to the temper of the soldier. The wonder 
is that the breaches of diplomatic usage or inter- 
national obligation are not more frequent. As 
regards the occurrence of these, and the charges that 
have most reasonably been founded upon them of 
Russian duplicity and mala fides, my only surprise is 
not that Russia invented the pleas, or gave the under- 
taking, but that England, with childlike innocence, 
has consented time after time to be gulled by the same 
transparent device. Anything more undignified or 


petulant than the now traditional howl from the 
London Foreign Office, which is presently appeased 
by a diplomatic assurance, and is never followed by 
action, cannot well be conceived ; and if we have to 
complain of being affronted or duped, in many cases 
we have only ourselves to thank for the insult. Khiva, 
Khokand, Askabad, Merv, and Penjdeh in each of 
these? eases we raised a pitiable outcry at the prospect 
of annexation, and in each case sat down as humbly 
beneath the fact as soon as it had been successfully 
accomplished. For half a century English writers 
have proclaimed that the loss of Herat will be the 
death-knell of India. When the blow falls I am 
certain that the British quill will cover reams of fools- 
cap, but T am not so sure that the British sword will 
flash from the scabbard. 

*My journey led me in another respect to modify 
the views which are commonly hold in England as to 

. . 

advance the motive ot Kiissui s advance. 1 hough it may be 
true that in starting eastward from the Caspian, and 
in striking at the Turkoman country, Eussia had 
England and Afghanistan in distant view, and though 
T shall presently quote a most significant despatch 
from a Russian statesman proving this point, yet it 
is also clear that, once having embarked upon a career 
of Transcaspian conquest, she could not possibly stop 
either at Oeok Tepe, or at Baba Durmaz, or at 
Sarakhs, or at Merv. Each link in the chain as it 
has been forged has already found itself intertwined 
with its successor ; and just as the first forward move 
into the steppe from Orenburg was bound to culmi- 


nate in the possession of Tashkent, whatever assur- 
ances to the contrary might be given by that master 
of the Eussian epistolary style, Prince Gortchakoff 
so the first Transcaspian muddles of Lomakin were 
the inevitable forerunners of Russian barracks at Merv, 
and a Eussian bridge over the Oxus. It does not 
much matter whether the geographical or ethnical 
principle be invoked. Either is equally serviceable 
for purposes of exculpation. The fact remains that 
in the absence of any physical obstacle, and in the 
presence of an enemy whose rule of life was depreda- 
tion, and who understood no diplomatic logic, but 
defeat, Eussia was as much compelled to go forward 
as the earth is to go round the sun ; and if any have 
a legitimate right to complain of her advance it is 
certainly not those who alone had the power to stop 
her, and who deliberately declined to exercise it. 
Whilst, however, I have confessed that in entering 

n i A TIT -n conquest 

upon her Central Asian career, 1 believe Itussia to of India a 


have been actuated by no far-seeing policy, and in 
pursuing it to have been driven largely by the impulse 
of natural forces, I am not the less convinced that her 
presence there is a serious menace to India, and that 
she is prepared to turn it for her own purposes to the 
most profitable account. She is like a man who has 
tumbled quite naturally, but very much to his own 
surprise, into the inheritance of a wealthy relative, of 
whom he never heard, but of whom he was the un- 
knowing heir ; and who is not deterred by the adven- 
titious source of his fortune from turning it to the 
most selfish advantage. Eussia finds herself in a 


position in Central Asia when* she ran both benefit 
herself by opening up the material and industrial 
resources of a continent, and attack at his most 
vulnerable* point the formidable adversary whose 
traditional policy is hostile to the fulfilment of what 
she describes as her national aspirations in Europe. 
1 do not suppose that a single man in Russia, with 
the exception of a few speculative theorists and here 
and there a giddy subaltern, ever dreams seriously 
of the conquest of India. To anyone, Russian or 
English, who has even superficially studied the ques- 
tion, the project is too preposterous to be entertained. 
It would be an achievement compared with which the 
acquisition of India by a trading company in itself 
one of the phenomena of history would be reduced 
to child's play ; it would involve the most terrible 
and lingering war that the world has ever seen ; and 
it could only be effected by a loss, most unlikely to 
occur, and more serious in its effects upon the human 
race than that of India itself, namely, the loss of the 
fibre of the British people. To those who solicit more 
practical considerations it may be pointed out that, 
with all the advantages of transport which she now 
enjoys, Russia would still be confronted with the 
difficulty of supplies, a difficulty great enough, as I 
have shown, even in the earlier stages of conflict in 
Afghanistan, but increasing in geometrical progres- 
sion with every mile that she advanced beyond Balkh 
or Herat ; and that the recent extension and fortifica- 
tion of the British frontier in Pishin and Beluchistan 
will supply her withsufficient preliminary nuts to crack 


before she ever dips her hand into the rich garner 
of Hindostan. On the day that a Russian army 
starts forth from Balkh for the passes of the Hindu 
Kush, or marches out of the southern gate of Herat 
en route for Kandahar, with reason may the British 
commander repeat the triumphant exclamation of 
Cromwell (according to Bishop Burnet) at Dunbar, 
6 Now hath the Lord delivered them into my hand ! ' 

But though neither Russian statesmen nor Russian Rusan 

, . attack 

generals are foolish enough to dream of the conquest upon India 
of India, they do most seriously contemplate the 
invasion of India ; and that with a very definite pur- 
pose which many of them are candid enough to avow. 
The Parthian retreated, fighting, with his eye turned 
backward. The Russian advances, fighting, with his 
mind's eye turned in the same direction. His object 
is not Calcutta, but Constantinople ; not the Ganges, 
but the Golden Horn. He believes that the keys 
of the Bosphorus are more likely to be won on the 
banks of the Helmund than on the heights of Plevna. 
To keep England quiet in Europe by keeping her 
employed in Asia, that, briefly put, is the sum and 
substance of Russian policy. Sooner than that 
England should intervene to thwart another San 
Stefano, or again protect with her guns a vanquished 
Stamboul, Herat must be seized by a coup de 
main, and General AnnenkofTs cars must be loaded 
with armed men. I asked a distinguished Russian 
diplomatist under what circumstances his Government 
would feel itself justified in violating the Afghan 
frontier, so solemnly settled a year and a half ago, 



and challenging a conflict with England in the East. 
His reply was very distinct. * Upon the occurrence 
of either of two contingencies/ he said; * if you tamper 
with the Russian dominions north of the Oxus; or if 
you interfere with the realisation of our national aims 
in Europe/ It requires no Daniel to interpret the 
last-named handwriting on the wall. 
Candid If further evidence be required of this intention, 

avowal of. i / i i / i / 

it may be tound in the frank confession of every 
Eussian officer serving in Central Asia, no less than 
in the authoritative utterances of Skobeleff, who 
usually said a few years in advance what the whole 
army repeated a few years afterwards. Twice in 
letters he employed the famous phrase about the 
tanning of the Asiatic hide. In 1877 he wrote : 

An acquaintance with the country and its resources leads 
infallibly to the conclusion that our presence in Turkestan in 
the name of Russian interests can only be justified by preci- 
pitating to our own benefit the solution of the Eastern Ques- 
tion. Otherwise the Asiatic hide is not worth the tanning, 
and all our efforts in Turkestan will have been in vain. . . . 
Would it not be well to avail ourselves of our new and 
powerful strategical position in Central Asia, and our im- 
proved acquaintance with routes and means, in order to strike 
a deadly blow at our real enemy, unless, which is very 
doubtful, the evidence of our resolve to strike at his most 
vulnerable point should cause him altogether to give way ? 

And again, in 1881, after his return from Geok 
Tepe, he wrote : 

To my mind the whole Central Asian Question is as clear 
as the daylight. If it does not enable us in a comparatively 
short time to take seriously in hand the Eastern Question, 
in other words, to dominate the Bosphorus, the hide is not 


worth the tanning. Sooner or later Russian statesmen will 
have to recognise the fact that Russia must rule the Bos- 
phorus; that on this depends not only her greatness as a 
Power of the first magnitude, but also her defensive security, 
and the corresponding development of her manufactures and 
trade. Without a serious demonstration in the direction of 
India, in all probability on the side of Kandahar, a war for 
the Balkan Peninsula is not to be thought of. It is indis- 
pensable to maintain in (Central Asia, at the gates of the 
corresponding theatre of war, a powerful body of troops, fully 
equipped, and seriously mobilised. 

That these ideas were not the offspring of a single Evidence 
brain, nor the incidental outcome of a Central Asian history 
policy pursued with other objects, and resulting 
in unexpected success, may be demonstrated by his- 
torical facts, proving that for an entire century the 
possibility of striking at India through Central Asia 
has been present to the minds of Russian statesmen ; 
and that, though such may not have been either the 
original motive of advance, or the incentive to sub- 
sequent annexation, it has ever sounded the tocsin of 
provocation in their ears, and has both encouraged 
many a hazardous venture, and palliated many a 
temporary reverse. 

As early as 1791 a Russian invasion of India by an schemes 
army advancing from Orenburg, vid Bokhara and invaaion: 
Kabul, was planned by M. de St. Genie, and carefully 
considered by the Empress Catherine. 

In 1800 a joint expedition against India was H. ioo 
designed by the Emperor Paul and Napoleon, then 
First Consul of France. A French army of 35,000 
men was to march down the Danube to the Black 



Sea, to be (dripped thence to Taganrog on the Sea of 
Azof, and to join a Russian force of greater strength 
upon the Volga, whence the united expedition was to 
be conveyed by river to Astrakhan, and by sea to 
Astrabad, where the overland march through Persia 
was to begin for Herat, Far rah, and Kandahar. 1 
Upon Napoleon retiring from the enterprise, the Czar 
Paul proposed to undertake it alone, and in a magni- 
loquent letter presented India and all its wealth to 
the Don Cossacks, who were to supply the invading 
armament. His death, after General Orloff, the 
hetman, had already marched at the head of a large 
army 450 miles from Orenburg, saved the plan from 
the disastrous fiasco that would have followed its 
continued execution. 

At Tilsit, in 1 807, the idea was revived by Napo- 
leon, who suggested a joint invasion to the Emperor 
Alexander, to be undertaken with the active assis- 
tance of the Shah. The two Emperors, however, 
soon drifted into collision themselves, and again the 
project lapsed. 

1 In his memorandum the Emperor Paul wrote in terms which 
have supplied a model to every subsequent Bussian in vasion -monger : 
' The sufferings under which the population of India groans have 
inspired France and Russia with the liveliest interest ; and the two 
governments have resolved to unite their forces in order to liberate 
India from the tyrannical and barbarous yoke of the English. Ac- 
cordingly the princes and peoples of all countries through which the 
combined armies will pass need have no fear; on the contrary, it 
behoves them to help with all their strength and means BO beneficent 
and glorious an undertaking ; the object of this campaign being in 
every respect as just, as that of Alexander the Great was unjust, when 
he wished to conquer the whole world/ This language is an almost 
verbal anticipation of that employed by Skobeleff eighty years later. 
Truly there is nothing new under the sun. 


During the ensuing years Eussia, prudently v. IBS? 
contracting the range of her ambition, laboured at 
strengthening her position in Persia, and utilising the 
military resources of the latter, which were then less 
relatively contemptible than now, as an advanced 
attacking force against India. As early as 1832, the 
* Moscow Gazette/ in an access of incautious jubilation, 
was found declaring that * We shall soon have no 
need to make any treaty with this perfidious people 
save at Calcutta.' And in 1837 Persia was encour- 
aged to send that expedition against Herat, in which 
Russian officers and engineers, as well as Russian 
money, played a prominent part, but which the gal- 
lantry of a single Englishman, Eldred Pottinger, covered 
with ridicule arid disgrace. In the same year the 
Russian agent Vitkievitch, who subsequently blew out 
his own brains from disappointment at the failure 
of his mission, was heard of at Kabul, offering a 
Russian alliance against England to Dost Mohammed. 

For a time the project of a Russian campaign v. IHSS 
against India languished. But early in the Crimean 
War, a plan of invasion was submitted by General 
Duhamelto the Emperor Nicholas ; and in 1855, when 
that war was drawing to a close, a memorandum was 
drawn up by General Khruleff, sketching a practic- 
able line of advance vid Astrabad, Meshed, and 
Herat. 1 European complications prevented much 
attention being paid to either of these schemes. 

1 For a succinct account of these two designs vide Russian Projects 
against India, by H. Sutherland Edwards, chap. xii. (1885). General 
Duhamel's report contained these words : ' When once the necessary 
transports are on the Caspian and ready for use, the route from Astra* 


The apprehensions, however, excited by 
Granviiie rumour of these intentions, as well as by the start 1 
ment of advance of Eussia into Turkestan between the yx 

I Olif^k 

1860 and 1870, led to the negotiations opene 
Lord Clarendon in 1869, which eventually culm 
in the Gortchakoff-Granville agreement of 187* 
containing the celebrated engagement given by the 
Russian Chancellor that * the Emperor looked upon 
Afghanistan as completely outside the sphere within 
which Eussia might be called upon to exercise her 
influence/ How far this engagement was respected 
by the Eussians is shown by the next occasion upon 
which the invasion of India figured among the pieces 
on the chessboard of Imperial diplomacy. 
vi.i878 When the Eusso-Turkish War broke out in 1877, 

khan to Astrabad is preferable to any other, because it is the shortest 
distance. Once in Astrabad, a footing in Khorasan will be easily ob- 
tained, and the remaining distance to Kabul is only 1,250 miles. The 
infantry, artillery, and ammunition can be shipped over the Caspian 
Sea, whilst the cavalry and ammunition-train will travel from Circassia 
through Persia. The march through half-civilised Persia will be com- 
paratively easy, that country being already so bound by treaties as to 
be incapable of serious resistance, and being moreover threatened from 
all sides, and BO rendered powerless. What more then remains to be 
desired ? Any active co-operation on the part of Persia involves the 
same on the part of Afghanistan, on account of the deadly animosity 
between the two nations ; and this is just the sine qua non of an attack 
upon India. . . . This once accomplished all is won ; for we do not 
invade India with a view to making conquests, but in order to overthrow 
the English rule, or at least to weaken English power.' 

General Khruleff also recommended an advance by Astrabad, 
Bujnurd, Kuchan, Meshed, and Herat , adding : * Having secured the 
neutrality of Persia, and having made ourselves safe on the side of 
Khiva, Bokhara, and Khokand, we could at once march a force of 
80,000 men to Kandahar, sending an embassy from thence to Kabul, which 
would finally dispose the natives in our favour and elevate our influence 
above that of the English. The entrance of the long-desired corps of 
80,000 men into Afghanistan will excite the national antipathy of the 
Afghans to the English, and will shake the British power in India.' 


it was thought unlikely in this country and impos- 
sible in Eussia, that England could keep aloof from 
the struggle. The impression prevailed in Eussia to 
the very end of the campaign, down to the signature 
of the Treaty of San " Stefano, and even while the 
Congress was sitting at Berlin, that England and 
Eussia would sooner or later be embroiled. It was 
with a view to such an emergency that in 1876 
Skobeleff, then military Governor of Ferghana, sent 
to Kaufmann, the Governor-General at Tashkent, an 
elaborate plan for the Eussian invasion of India ; the 
importance of which consists not so much in the 
dispositions or movements recommended, as in the 
fact that the earlier part of Skobeleff's programme 
was actually carried into execution ; though amid 
the chorus of congratulation that hailed the signa- 
ture of the Treaty of Berlin in England, the omens 
of menace in the East were neglected, and did not 
emerge in their full significance till they were found 
to have entangled us in a war with Afghanistan 
before the end of the year 1878. 

Skobeleff's plan, which was subsequently matured 
and elaborated at a Council of War held in the invasion of 


Eussian camp outside Constantinople, involved the 
simultaneous employment of armed forces and private 
intrigue. The Stolietoff mission was commissioned 
to Kabul, to negotiate a secret treaty with the Amir 
Shir Ali, who had already been conciliated by com- 
plimentary letters from Kaufmann ; l Colonel Grode- 

1 The Stolietoff mission left Samarkand on June 18, 1878, the very 
day of the opening of the Congress of Berlin. It reached Kabul on 


koff was despatched upon his ride from Samarkand 
to sound the feelings of Afghan Turkestan ; Colonel 
Matsaeff was deputed witli similar instructions to 
Badakshan and Kafiristan. Military operations were 
to be ' undertaken simultaneously by three columns, 
with an aggregate strength of over 20,000 men, with 
their bases respectively at Petro-Alexandrovsk on the 

July 22, 1878, nine days after the Treaty of Berlin had already been 
signed, and when telegraphic news of that event was in the possession 
both of Stolietoff and of Shir Ali. General Stolietoff loft Kabul at the 
end of September, with a signed treaty in his pocket ; but the bulk of 
the mission under Colonel Rozgonoff remained behind for some 
months, urging the Amir ' to close the door of Kabul against those who 
want to enter it from the East ; ' 'to be as a serpent, and to make 
peace openly with England, but in secret to prepare for war.' The 
crisis came more quickly than either expected. In November war was 
declared by England against Afghanistan ; on the 22nd Fort Ali Musjid 
was captured by the British. On December 2 Roberts carried the Peiwar 
Kotal by storm. On December 18 Shir Ali fled from Kabul with the 
remainder of the Bussian mission, being still encouraged by Kaufmann 
' to treat the English with deceit and fraud, until the present cold 
season passes away, when the Almighty Will will be made manifest to 
you ; that is to say, the Russian Government having repeated the Bis- 
niillah, the Bismillah will come to your assistance.' The Bisuiillah, as 
all remember, took the form of absolute refusal on the part of Russia 
to interfere in the interests of the unhappy victim whom she had duped 
and now deserted, and of the death of Shir Ali himself in February 
1879. The entire story, which we owe to the discovery of the Secret 
Correspondence by the British troops at Kabul, and which is without 
parallel in the annals of diplomatic intrigue, was invaluable for two 
reasons : it taught the Afghans the reliance to be placed upon Russian 
pledges of assistance, a lesson they have never forgotten ; and it shat- 
tered the pretty theory of the British Russophiles like a house of cards. 
That a power, at peace with ourselves, in the face of an old-standing 
engagement that Afghanistan should remain outside the sphere of its 
influence, and with the ink upon a fresh international agreement 
scarcely dry, should deliberately instigate to war an ally of our own, 
and throw the shield of its patronage over a course of the meanest chi- 
cane, was more than the most devoted partisan could stomach. So 
far as I know, the good-faith of Russia has never on either side in 
English politics found an honest spokesman since. Nusquam tufa 
fdes has become, by her own teaching, an axiom of common accept- 


Oxus south of Khiva, at Samarkand, and at Mar- 

The first column, under General Grotengelm, was Military 

. operations 

to march up the river to Tcharjui and to operate in 
conjunction with a column from the Caspian. The 
second, under General Kaufmann himself, was to 
march vid Jam, on the Bokharan frontier, towards 
Karshi and the Oxus. The third, under General 
Abramoff, was to ascend the Alai from Ferghana, and 
endeavour to scale the Pamir Plateau, by passes 
leading down into Chitral or Kashmir. Nothing 
serious resulted from any of these projects ; though 
Abramoff succeeded in proving that passes of a great 
altitude were nevertheless accessible to artillery; 
while Kaufmann, having marched as far as Jam, was 
obliged to march back again, having in the mean- 
time stated his conviction in a letter that his army 
was ; fit to encounter any troops in the world, and 
though a march to India with such means was not to 
be thought of, yet, if help were forthcoming on the 
other side (i.e. from Afghanistan), he might do a 
great deal, and above all would set simmering such 
a porridge that the bulldogs would not shake them- 
selves clear of it.' l 

The interest, however, of these proceedings, Later 
which were 'designed in strict accordance with ments 
SkobelefTs proposals, lay less in their abortive incep- 
tion and premature collapse, than in the later steps 
by which, if successful, they were to have been 

1 Vide C. Marvin's Russians at Merv and Herat and Russia at 
the Gate of Herat. 


followed up. Kaufmann, having entered into negotia- 
tions for an alliance with the Amir, was to advance 
vid Balkh and Bamian to Kabul, whither, if Shir 
Ali proved refractory, Abdurrahman Khan was to be 
summoned from Samarkand, and encouraged to stir 
up civil war ; whereas, if all went well, the Eussian 
position was to be strengthened, and the native army 
organised in Afghanistan ; while a host of spies and 
emissaries, circulating throughout India, were to 
arouse the disaffected elements in the rear of any 
British force advancing from the Indus. The latter 
would find itself hemmed in between two fires, and in 
parlous plight. Victory was to be followed by letting 
loose a tornado of wild Asiatic horsemen upon India, 
and by a revival of the summary if unsentimental 
methods of Tamerlane. In the event of defeat the 
Eussian army was to retire upon Herat, where it 
would be met and succoured by a relief column 
pushed forward from the Caspian. 

Such, briefly summarised, was SkobelefTs plan of 

quent t t 

campaign for the invasion of India. When the 
leading Eussian General in Central Asia thinks it 
worth while to formulate so precise a scheme, and 
when, further, upon the first opportunity presented, 
and in contempt of all international morality, his 
Government proceeds to give it effect, it can no 
longer be contended that Eussian designs against 
India are the figment of a biassed imagination, or 
even that an invasion is outside the region of en- 
deavour. Since the death of Skobeleff it is well 
known that a revised edition of his scheme, modified 


or extended in accordance with wider knowledge and 
more modern conditions, has been elaborated by 
General Kuropatkin, who was one of Skobeleff's 
right-hand men in Central Asia, and inherited his 
traditions and ideas, and who may be regarded as 
the leading exponent of Central Asian tactics in the 
Russian army. Did circumstances render it desir- 
able to-morrow that pressure should be brought to 
bear upon England in Afghanistan, every detail of 
the plan to be pursued is already drawn up and 
decided upon, and the telegraph-wire could set the 
machinery in instantaneous motion. 1 

It would be an error, however, to suppose that civilian 

. endorse- 

schemes for striking at India through Afghanistan 
are the emanation of military brains alone, or are to vitjff 
be attributed to the mingled tedium and irrespon- 
sibility of garrison life in the steppes. Statecraft is 
at least as much interested as generalship in the solu- 
tion of the problem ; and behind the more daring 
spirits who manufacture opportunities or execute 
designs upon the frontier, are cooler heads and more 
sagacious brains in the public offices upon the Neva, 
whose voice, particularly under the existing regime, 
possesses at least an equal share in the decision. 
The present head of the Asiatic Department of the 

1 An article, entitled * Constantinople, Russia, and India,* in the 
Quarterly Review of January 1887, by an evidently well-informed 
authority, contained this striking sentence : ' To those who would fain 
believe that this rapid advance is the result of accidental circumstances, 
we would, with rail knowledge of the subject, reply by challenging any 
high official, either Liberal or Conservative, in either India or England, 
to say that he had not had absolute proofs before him that the Russian 
advance is the result of a well-matured design to dispute our Empire in 
the East.' 


Foreign Office at St. Petersburg (a post which may be 
compared to our Secretaryship of State for India) is 
M. Zinovieff, who was formerly Eussian Minister at 
Teheran, and is profoundly versed in the Central 
Asian Question. It is interesting, therefore, to have 
from his pen, as typical of the most distinguished 
civilian opinion among the bureaucracy, the admis- 
sion that military necessities or frontier security were 
not the only motives that led Eussia across the 
Caspian ; and that statesmen as well as soldiers see 
in Afghanistan (the country outside the legitimate 
sphere of Eussian influence) a fair field for the exer- 
cise of their abilities. In a despatch to the Minister 
for Foreign Affairs, sent from Teheran in March 
1881, upon the policy of retaining the Akhal-Tekke 
oasis after the fall of Geok Tepe, M. Zinovieff ex- 
pressed himself with much candour as follows : 

It must not be forgotten that one of the causes which 
urged us to operations eastward of the Caspian Sea was the 
necessity for making an impression upon England, and check- 
ing her attempts against us in Central Asia. This was the 
consideration that produced our expedition in 1878 to Khwaja 
Kala. We then became convinced of the policy of subduing 
the Tekkes. It is impossible to believe that in the future 
the same necessity will not again arise. . . . Volunterily to 
give up the dearly-bought successes of our present expedi- 
tion would be all the more foolish since there is at present a 
most important Central Asian Question as yet unsettled viz. 
the future of Afghanistan. . . . Even though Gladstone's 
Ministry is opposed to a policy of interference or incorpora- 
tion, the English Conservatives, in the event of their return 
to power, will not find it impossible to discover sufficient 
reasons for the pacification of Afghanistan, in order to realise 


their political programme, which is to push the dominions 
and power of England to the uttermost, and to diminish the 
importance of Russia in Central Asia. Our advanced post at 
the north-east extremity of Khorasan, united as it is with our 
base on the Caspian by good lines of communication, will 
doubtless compel the English to be more circumspect in their 
ambitious schemes, as all the roads to the east and south-east 
are now open to us. 1 

In deploying this chain of evidence, I have been Beaiity 

T . , , of Anglo- 

announcing no new discovery ; but, on the contrary, Russian 

have recapitulated facts for the most part familiar nowuni- 

m versally 

to every student of the question : facts which render admitted 
it impossible for anyone to deny that there is an 
Anglo-Russian Question of incalculable seriousness 
and vast proportions ; facts, moreover, which, by the 
resistless force of their own accumulation, have made 
so deep an impression upon the public mind in this 
country that there is now but. one opinion as to the 
lessons which they inculcate, and but one voice as to 
the duty that they impose. The school of politicians 
who described anxiety at Russia's advance upon India 
as ' old women's fears,' have closed the doors of their 
discredited academy. The policy of * masterly inac- 
tivity' meets with a hundred contemptuous critics 
for a single honest champion ; and but a few voices, 
feebly bleating in the wilderness, still proclaim the 
unshaken security of the Indus Valley Frontier. No 
more significant proof of the volte-face which has 
been forced upon English opinion can be given, than 
that it was under a Liberal Prime Minister, himself 
the author of the memorable phrase above quoted, 

1 Grodekoff s Wcvr in TurJcomania, chap. xvi. 


that this country was brought nearer to war with 
Russia in Central Asia than it has been at any time 
since the Crimean War ; that it was by a Liberal Ad- 
ministration that a credit of eleven millions sterling 
for Imperial defence was demanded, and by a Liberal 
Viceroy of India that Beluchistan was annexed, the 
Amir of Afghanistan subsidised, and an advanced 
British frontier pushed forward into Quetta and 
Fishin. Russia may congratulate or commiserate 
herself upon having been convicted out of the mouth 
of her own witnesses. 
Russian It will have been noticed that what may be de- 


about scribed as the mainspring of SkobelefFs policy was 
British r . i J 

rule in the employment of such seditious or insurgent ele- 
ments as might be found open to anti-British appeals 
in India. And here, accordingly, I am brought in 
contact with a cardinal misconception underlying, and 
to a great extent vitiating, every Russian argument 
bearing upon invasion namely, the deeply-rooted 
conviction, which has been betrayed by every Russian 
who has written upon the subject, and which was 
expressed to me by every Russian with whom I con- 
versed about it, that the British rule in India is one 
of odious and incredible tyranny, that the majority of 
the Indian people are plunged in bitter affliction, and 
that the smallest spark falling in this magazine of 
combustibles must produce an explosion that will 
blow the British authority to atoms. It is useless to 
point out to the Russian that his belief is scarcely 
compatible with the fact that over 270,000,000 of 
this dangerous material* are held in tranquil sub- 


jection by a force of 70,000 white soldiers, associated 
with a native army of double that number or in 
other words, that there is only one armed man in 
India to every 1,300 of the population ; whereas in 
Eussian Turkestan and Transcaspia 45,000 men are 
required to control a native population of less than 
two and a-haif millions, or at the rate of one armed 
man to every fifty of the native peoples. These calcu- 
lations fail to disturb what is to his mind an a priori 
certainty, independent of reasoning, and based on. 
an imperious confidence both in the popularity of 
Eussia and in the hatred inspired by England. 

Every Eussian general of importance in Central Evidence 
Asia Kaufmann, TchernaiefF, Skobeleff, Grodekoff, generals 
Petrusevitch has shared and has re-echoed this be- 
lief. Skobeleff wrote as follows, in the letter before 
quoted, in 1877 : 

Everyone who has concerned himself with the question 
of the position of the English in India has declared it to be 
precarious, and has said that it is solely maintained by force 
of arms, that the European troops are not more than sufficient 
to keep the country quiet, and that the native soldiers are 
not to be depended upon at all. Everyone who has con- 
cerned himself with the question of the possibility of a 
Russian invasion of India has declared that it is only neces- 
sary to penetrate to a single point upon the Indian frontier, 
in order to bring about a general rising. . . , The contact of 
even an insignificant force with the frontier of India might 
lead to a general insurrection throughout the country, and to 
the collapse of the British Empire. 

Again, in 1880, in a letter from Transcaspia to M, 
Zinovieff at Teheran, we find him saying : 


My deep conviction, formed in years of almost constant 
service in Central Asia, is that our influence and power in 
these countries rests on so firm a basis, that we are absolved 
from the necessity of supporting our prestige by such extreme 
diplomatic, financial, and military measures as the British 
Government has been compelled to adopt. Our position in 
Asia has nothing in common with our position elsewhere ; 
and its origin must be sought for in that arbitrary and 
morally unjustifiable state of affairs which England has kept 
up in India since the beginning of the present century. The 
might of Russia, God be praised, brings with it in Asia 
peace, equality, and freedom of person and property ; it is 
based not on privileged classes, but on the struggling multi- 

More emphatic still is the opinion expressed by 
General Soboleff in an article upon Eussian and 
British rule in Central Asia, published in 1885 : 

England lays a heavy hand on her dependent peoples. 
She reduces them to a state of slavery only that English 
trade may profit and Englishmen grow rich. The death of 
millions in India from starvation has been caused indirectly 
by English despotism. Thousands of Indian natives only 
await Russia's crusade of deliverance. If the English would 
only throw aside their misplaced pride, and study a little 
more deeply the foundations of Russian rule in Central Asia, 
comparing it with their own, they would soon see quite 
plainly why the name of Russia enjoys such prestige in Asia, 
and why the natives of India hate the dominion of England, 
and set their hopes of emancipation upon Russia. Russia 
allows full liberty to native customs, and not only does not 
overburden her subjects with new taxes, but even concedes 
them exemptions and privileges of a most extensive character. 
England, on the contrary, is a vampire sucking the last drop 
of blood out of India. 

General Annenkoff, in his pamphlet introducing the 


Transcaspian Railway, not only reckoned upon the 
hatred of England in India as an undisputed factor 
in the situation, but pursued the analysis of its raison 
d'etre further than most of his compeers ; indulging 
in a series of statements, which, while they do credit 
to his powers of advocacy, entirely demolish his 
claims to accuracy, and seriously jeopardise his repu- 
tation for sense. He represented the Indian ryot as 
finding the whole of his slender substance swallowed 
up in taxation, and as worse off under the English 
than he was under previous rulers. He blamed the 
English for allowing the magnificent public works of 
their predecessors to fall into ruin. He revived the 
cock-and-bull story about ten millions perishing of 
starvation in Bengal in 1870. He descanted upon 
the systematic annihilation of native manufactures 
and industries by the unconditional monopoly of 
English capitalists. He condemned the evil effects of 
Christian missions, and the introduction of the English 
legal system. He might indeed have graduated in a 
certain school of English politicians, for he described 
the Indian Civil Service as * a means for enriching 
the younger sons of the nobility.' When we find this 
astonishing farrago of nonsense solemnly enunciated 
by a Russian general, and a man claiming a peculiar 
inspiration upon this particular subject, it is not 
surprising that similar views are widely distributed 
among the Russian people, and are absorbed by them 
with credulous avidity. 1 

1 Compare also the observations of the Russian writer, Captain 
Terentieff, in his work entitled Russia and England in the East, quoted 
by Burnaby in the preface of his Ride to Khiva. 


Heal A firm belief in the destiny of Eussia as the heaven- 

feeling in . . _ 

India sent emancipator of distressed nationalities, and ot 
peoples groaning under British misrule, is a factor in 
the situation which it is difficult to say whether an 
Englishman should regard with greater serenity or 
regret. On the one hand, he feels that in precise pro- 
portion to the magnitude of the illusion will be the 
recoil that must ensue upon its collapse. I repeat 
what is the testimony of those who have spent a life- 
time in India and know it best, when I say that 
whatever charges may plausibly or even fairly be 
brought against British administration in that country, 
whatever the discontent that may be lurking among 
native peoples, and however great the hopes that are 
habitually associated with change, there is no desire, 
and there would be no conspiracy for such a change 
as would substitute the mastery of Eussia for that of 
Great Britain, and replace a dominion which, for all 
its austerity or its pride, has uniformly been cha- 
racterised by public spirit, integrity, and justice, 
by one that has never, either in Europe or Asia, 
purged itself of the canker of corruption, coarseness, 
and self-seeking. Quite recently I read in the 
leading organ of the native party in India, and 
the strongest advocate of the Congress movement, 
the significant admission, 'The princes and people 
of India look with positive dread upon Eussian 

Regret- On the other hand, the almost universal prevalence 

Bussian of the belief I have described in the Eussian mind is 
oranoe inasmuch as it buoys up that people 


with unreasonable hopes, and tempts them to aggres- 
sive undertakings. Shut up within the narrow walls 
of this optimistic creed, the Eussian intellect is unable 
to look abroad, and correct its judgment by a wider 
survey. The little that most Eussians hear about 
England or English rule in India is filtered through 
the columns of a singularly unscrupulous press. 
There is, for instance, a powerful newspaper, called 
the ' Kavkas,' published at Tiflis, which not uncom- 
monly devotes more of its space to the discussion of 
Indian than it does to that of Caucasian politics. The 
speeches delivered at the National Congress are faith- 
fully reported ; and publicity is given to details tend- 
ing to prove Indian discontent or hostility. At the 
same time the voluntary contributions of native 
princes for frontier defence, and similar evidences of 
native loyalty, are carefully expunged. It is not sur- 
prising that under these circumstances error is wide- 
spread, and false inference universal. No people in 
Europe travel less than the Eussians outside their 
own country, or make fewer efforts to acquaint them- 
selves with foreign affairs. I question if, apart from 
political emissaries, whose interest lies in magnifying 
rather than in exposing the illusion, there are a 
couple of Eussian visitors to India in each year. And 
yet I cannot imagine a surer guarantee for the con- 
tinuance of peace and the discomfiture of Chauvinism 
than that railway passes should be provided by the 
Indian Government gratis to parties of Eussian tra- 
vellers from Tuticorin to Peshawur. After their 
return home there would be much less chatter about 


Indian invasion to the north of the Hindu Kush. 1 It 
is to be regretted that even when an intelligent 
foreigner with strong .Russian proclivities, such as 
the Frenchman, M. Boiivalot, whose recent work 

1 That this is no idle conjecture may be illustrated by the case 
though, so fur as I know, it stands alone of Doctor Pashino, a Russian, 
who, after seventeen years' service in the Asiatic section of the Foreign 
Office at St. Petersburg, and having subsequently acted as interpreter of 
Oriental languages to General Itomanovski in Turkestan, paid a series 
of visits to India (it was said at the instance of the Emperor Alexander 
II.) presumably as a secret agent of the Ilussian Government, seeing 
that he adopted various disguises, and consorted with the Iluesophile, 
or anti-British, elements wherever he went. Nevertheless, in a book 
published after his return, ho wrote as follows of British rule in India : 
' 1 had never been able to understand how it was that the English, in 
spite of the interminable sermons of their missionaries, showed such a 
complete toleration towards the religion of their Indian subjects. In 
my double capacity of Kussian and resident at Tashkent, I had explained 
this fact to myself by the insufficiency of British troops in India, and 
by the material weakness of the British nation. But note what wonders 
fire accomplished by these English, who, in our opinion, have so few 
soldiers in India. Everywhere they open schools, colleges, hospitals. 
At this moment (1875) they are busily engaged in founding a university 
at Lahore. They give the power and right to every native, who has 
passed an examination, to enter the public service. They supply the 
natives of India with the means of becoming doctors, lawyers, advo- 
cates, and popularly elected representatives. To us Hussions it seems 
absolutely incredible that in the entire personnel of the Punjab 
Treasury there are only five English employes, all the rest being natives. 
In time something of the same kind may be seen in Russian Turkestan. 
Some day it may no longer be necessary to make such a display of 
force to the inhabitants as to-day. But until that happy time arrives, 
the Ilussian troops must always be numerous and everywhere en 
Evidence. In India, on the contrary, everything is different. There is 
no military Governor-General ; and even the Viceroy, who resides at 
Calcutta, is not there to make war, but to watch over the well-being 
and prosperity of the people. The English ore so attentive in every- 
thing affecting the natives, that every one of their civil servants is 
obliged to pass an examination in the languages and religions of the 
country ; so much so that the natives have no need to learn English. 
At present the Hindus ore enchanted with the English administration, 
and take pleasure in sending their children to English schools. Taxes 
are in general heavy in India, but they are not so ruinous for the people 
as they seem. 1 


I have more than once quoted, 1 has travelled 
in India and enjoyed exceptional opportunities of 
observing its government, he can say nothing to 
enlighten his patrons upon the subject. Gratitude 
to Lord Dufferin, whose timely interference rescued 
him from death in Chitral, compels him to give his 
work an English dedication ; but fidelity to Russia 
forbids any admission that might be wounding to her 
national pride. He even makes the discovery that 
British rule in India ' shows what can be done by 
traders and men of business, who know what they 
want and go straight to their purpose. Nevertheless 
their power is, whatever they may say, more or less 
artificial ; they are making their way up stream, which 
tires the boldest swimmer, whereas the others (i.e. the 
Eussians) are following the current, which is far easier/ 

Turning, however, from former designs or present Russian 
misconceptions relating to a Eussian movement 
against India, let me briefly describe the status quo 
on both sides, Eussian and English, and indicate the 
advantages or disadvantages experienced by either. 
Should Eussia, at this moment, feel called upon to 
assume the offensive against England in Central Asia, 
there can be no doubt that her advance would, as I 
have indicated in the previous chapter, be made in 
the main from three directions : 

1. From the upper sources of the Oxus or the 
Pamir upon Chitral or Kashmir. 

2. From Tashkent and Samarkand upon the Oxus, 
Balkh, and Kabul. 

3. From Merv and Askabad upon Herat. 

1 Through the Heart of Asia. 2 vols. 1889. 


i. Prom The advanced military stations of Russia in the 

the Pamir 

province of Ferghana are Marghilan and Osh, which 
are immediately north of the great Alai Range. From 
this base a column with mountain batteries would 
cross the Taldik Pass (11,000 ft.) and the Kizil Art 
(14,000 ft.) to Lake Kara Kul (12,800 ft.), whence 
it would proceed S.E. up the Aksu towards Tash- 
kurgan, descending from thence by one of several 
passes, probably the Barogil (12,000 ft.), either upon 
Yasin and Gilgit, or upon Chitral and Kafiristan. 
From the former base a menacing movement might 
be made upon Kashmir ; from the latter upon Jella- 
labad or Peshawur. Though the regions to be 
traversed are enormously lofty, and impassable for 
troops during any but the months of June to Sep- 
t-ember, a column might execute a diversion in this 
quarter, which, without being positively serious in 
itself, would require to be seriously met. It would 
encounter no military opposition till it had reached 
Chitral or Kashmir. Sir Charles MacGregor contem- 
plated an alternative line of Russian advance in this 
quarter from the Bokharan state of Kolab, across the 
Oxus into Badakshan, and so across the Hindu Kush 
into Chitral. Opposition might, however, be encoun- 
tered in this direction from the Afghans, w r ho hold 
Badakshan in force, and who are hostile to all 

a. prom Upon the second line of advance, Russia would 

start with advantages which she has never hitherto 

enjoyed; for as far as the northern bank of the 
Oxus she would have behind her the entire military 


and material resources of Bokhara. The evidence 
which I have amassed in previous chapters will 
show that in Bokhara she would find a submissive 
and a not altogether unserviceable ally. No possible 
obstacle, but the collection of supplies and trans- 
port, could delaj r her in her march to the river, 
from which she might descend with irresistible 
strength upon Balkh (I use the name Balkli as the 
popular and most widely known appellation, though 
the ancient city is a heap of ruins, and the modern 
capital of Afghan Turkestan is called Mazar-i-Sherif), 
or upon Tashkurgan (also a modern town near the 
ancient and ruined Khulm). Concentrating and 
consolidating her forces in this rich plain, she could 
either remain there at her leisure, or push forward 
to Bamian and the passes of the Hindu Kush, lead- 
ing direct upon Kabul. These passes could be held 
against her if a force competent to hold them 
were forthcoming, a condition which would depend 
upon the joint politics of Kabul and Calcutta. As 
far, however, as Afghan Turkestan is concerned, the 
Eussian progress would probably be a ' walk over ' ; 
still more, if, as is constantly averred, the inhabitants 
of that country are secretly disposed towards her 
rule. This line of advance might be rendered the 
more formidable by the co-operation of a column 
advancing up the river by steamboat or by rail from 

Between the second and the third or main line of New 


Eussian advance i.e. between the Oxus at Bosaga Afghan 


ajid the Russo -Afghan frontier on the Heri Eud at 


Zulfikar lies a st retch of country 350 miles in length, 
along which was traced in irregular lines the new 
frontier of 1885-87. A boundary so arbitrary and 
unscientific, and nowhere assisted by physical or 
geographical aids to demarcation a line, as it has 
justly been called, of length without strength ; a peace 
frontier established honoris causd, but not a war 
frontier to be fought for or about can be violated 
at any or every point. The base of attack upon this 
section of the frontier, were such a step contemplated 
by Russia, would naturally be Merv, with its chain of 
advanced posts up the valley of the Murghab as far as 
Penjdeh. Resistance would depend upon the quality 
of the Afghan garrisons of Andkui, Maimena, and 
Bala Murghab, which are probably not to be relied 
upon at all. 
. Upon Of the advance upon Herat either from Merv, or 

Herat * 

from Sarakhs, or even through Khorasan, I have 
spoken at length in preceding chapters. I have 
shown that the extreme southern point of the Russian 
frontier is less than 80 miles by road from Herat, 
that Merv is only 270 miles from Herat, Dushak 
the same distance, and Meshed 60 miles less ; I have 
shown that the Transcaspian Railway could transport 
by any or all of these routes the resources of the 
Caucasus and European Russia ; and that with these 
great facilities to recommend it, Russia is justified 
in looking to this line of advance with confidence 
as a certain guarantee at any rate of preliminary 

Such is the military position of Russia along her 


present Afghan border from Russia to the Pamir. 
Taking a leap for the moment over Afghanistan, let Indian 
us contrast the English frontier, 500 miles distant at 
the nearest point, upon the other side. The British 
frontier in the direction facing Afghanistan for along 
nearly one-half of its extent it is not actually coter- 
minous with Afghanistan proper, i.e. with the subjects 
of the Amir, but is separated from it by a mountain- 
ous border-land, peopled by more or less independent 
tribes may roughly be divided into three sections. 

1 . The western borders of Kashmir and the upper 
Indus valley, bordering upon independent, or allied, 
or subsidised tribes a section which, though it 
might have to be defended on the north against 
attacks such as that to which I have alluded from the 
Pamir, is not directly opposed to any Russian or pro- 
Russian enemy. 

2. The mountainous region beginning with Attock 
and Peshawur, and including the embouchure of a 
series of passes from Afghanistan, the most impor- 
tant of which are the Khyber, Kurum valley, Tochi, 
and Gomul or Gwalari. A network of railways 
and military roads brings every point along this 
frontier into easy communication with India proper, 
while powerful fortifications at Attock, Rawul Pindi, 
and elsewhere, have been designed to resist possible 
invasion. 1 Within a week of the declaration of war, 

1 The northern terminus of the railway is at present at Peshawur ; 
but surveys have already been completed for an extension to Jumrood, 
at the mouth of the Khyber. For a more exhaustive description of the 
Indian frontier, and its road and railway communications, vide an 
article by the writer, entitled ' The Scientific Frontier an Accomplished 
Fact,' in the Nineteenth Century for June 1889 


large bodies of troops would be hastening along this 
line to the front. The passes that have been named 
supply the natural line of advance upon Kabul or 
Ghuzni, either of which places could be reinforced, 
occupied, or seized long before a Russian army was 
within striking distance. 

3. An advanced boundary pushed forward wedge- 
wise from the Gomul Pass, not as yet thoroughly 
pacified, but about to be brought under British in- 
fluence, to the Khwaja Amran mountains on the 
western confines of Pishin, where it touches Afghani- 
stan proper on the south, at a distance of only sixty 
miles from Kandahar. This section is connected with 
the Indus valley in its more northerly portion by 
excellent military roads, the principal being that from 
])era Ghazi Khan through Thai Chotiali to Quetta, a 
distance of less than 300 miles ; and in its southerly 
portion by the Sind-Pishin Eailway, which crosses the 
Indus by the magnificent newly-completed cantilever 
bridge at Sukkur, bifurcates at Sibi into a double 
railway, approaching Quetta on the one side by the 
Ilurnai, on the other by the "Bolan Pass, and is con- 
tinued from Quetta over the Pishin valley to the 
frontier post of Cliaman on the plains at the northern 
foot of the Amran range, a tunnel through which is 
at this moment in course of construction. Quetta 
itself occupies an almost impregnable position, and 
lias been defended by an array of lines and advanced 
military forts, which render invasion from this quarter 
all but impossible. An interval of sixty miles of 
level plain alone saves Kandahar from being a British 


possession, but would not stand more than a few days 
in the way of its becoming so were such a step 
found necessary on the outbreak of hostilities. This 
line of British advance is in direct communication by 
rail with the seaport of Kurrachi distant twenty- 
five days from England from which the Pishin fron- 
tier can be reached upon the third day. 

It will be noticed that there is a significant parity Diagram of 

. . tli tw 

both in the direction and objective of the rival rail- railway 


way systems that confront each other at the distance 
of a few hundred miles, and have been devised to 
transport the forces of both Powers to the points most 
suitable for advunce or most exposed to attack. At 
a distance of 750 miles apart, as the crow flies, the 
Dushak-Samarkand line of Eussia, on the north- 
west, runs almost exactly parallel with the Sukkur 
Lahore line of India on the south-east, both lines 
covering the respective frontiers which they have 
been designed to serve. In both cases double ad- 
vanced lines, diverging from the main base at right 
angles, strike out, or are intended to strike out, to the 
frontier itself: on the Indian side the Sukkur-Ohaman 
branch (Sind-Pishin Railway) is pushed out from 
Sukkur in a north-westerly direction, its objective being 
Kandahar ; the Rawul Pindi-Peshawur line is pushed 
out from Lahore, further to the east, its objective 
being Kabul. On the Russian side the corresponding 
extensions are not yet completed, but, as has been 
shown, are already designed. When finished, the Merv- 
Herat line will strike out south-east from the main line, 
its objective being Herat, and will run in an almost 


straight line with the Indian rail to Kandahar ; the 
Tcharjui-Bosaga line will be pushed forward at a 
similar angle further to the east, its objective being 
Balkh, and the direction again being nearly identical 
from the opposite quarter with that of the Indian 
Pesliawur line. The attitude and position of the two 
Powers may be aptly illustrated, in the form of a 
diagram, by these respective railway lines, represent- 
ing, as they do, either country as standing firmly on 
its own ground, and stretching out defiant arms in 
front, in the one case to capture or to strike, in the 
other to resist or to defend. The diagram is also 
useful, as indicating the lines upon which warlike 
operations must infallibly commence. 

A comparison of the two frontiers, British and 
Eussian, will show, therefore, that for a zone extend- 
ing to from 100 to 200 miles in front of their respective 
border-lines, either Power occupies on its own side a 
position of preponderant strength. If it be a move- 
ment upon Kabul, Ghuzni, or Kandahar that is planned, 
Great Britain has no difficulty in forestalling Eussia. 
If the objective be Balkh or Herat, the advantage 
rests as indisputably with the Eussians. Unfortu- 
nately for the English, it is the latter and not the 
former position that will constitute the determining 
feature at any rate in the earlier stages of the con- 
flict. Herein lies the inequality between the rival 
situations. Great Britain makes no practical gain by 
an advance upon Kabul, Ghuzni, or Kandahar, places 
which she has often previously captured, held, and 
voluntarily abandoned, and to which she will only 


again advance, not for purposes of offence or annexa- 
tion, but under the compulsion of Russian aggression 
from the north. Russia, however, makes a very 
positive and tangible gain by the seizure either of 
lialkh or Herat, inasmuch as they are positions of 
first-rate importance, captured from the enemy, and 
carrying with them the control of large tracts of 
country of great potential fertility and strategical con- 
sequence. The advantage to Russia will be all the 
greater if she so times her movement upon either place 
as to effect the occupation just before winter begins. 
No military operations can be undertaken, in order to 
dislodge her, till the ensuing spring ; and though in 
the meantime the dogs of war might have been baying 
over two continents and in many lands, yet snow and 
ice are not confined in winter to Afghanistan, and the 
bark of the English would so far have been worse 
than their bite ; while on her side Russia would have 
had six clear months within which to fortify either or 
both strongholds (Herat has powerful fortifications 
already, constructed under the superintendence of 
British engineer officers), and would resume the 
Asian campaign in secure possession of both disputed 
points. War or peace, victory or defeat, might ensue ; 
but she would undoubtedly have scored what may be 
described as two by tricks, whatever might be said of 
honours, in the opening hand. 

Without entering into details of strategy, which England's 
a civilian is ill-qualified to handle, it is worth while to Afghan- 


pausing for one moment to consider what ought to 
be the response that England should make to such 


a move, involving these initial advantages, on the 
part of our antagonists. There exists a school of 
politicians, of whom Sir Charles Dilke is the accom- 
plished spokesman, who are inclined to emphasise to 
the uttermost the pledges that have at different times 
been made by the British or Indian Government to the 
Amir of Afghanistan, and who argue that any reluct- 
ance to rise to the full scope of the responsibilities 
thus assumed, will involve both a serious breach of 
faith and a disastrous loss of influence. Sir Charles 
Dilke, in the following passage, criticises a paragraph 
in an article by myself that appeared in the ' Nineteenth 
Century ' in February 1889 : 

There is, to my mind, no conceivable doubt that we are 
bound by every consideration of honour to the present Amir. 
If by any chance he were to be attacked by Russia, he would 
expect our assistance, and, in my opinion, has a right to 
count upon it. Mr. George Curzon has taken exception, in 
a recent article, to my words ' We are solemnly pledged to 
defend against Russia the integrity of Afghanistan.' * A 
pledge/ he says, ' was given to the present Amir ... to aid 
him in resisting unprovoked aggression on his dominions ; 
but the very important qualification was appended, " to such 
extent and in such manner as may appear to the British 
Government necessary." ' Mr. Curzon seems to think that 
no engagement exists morally compelling us to resist the 
infringement of the Afghan new north-west frontier. Now 
the pledges of which I spoke are contained in statements 
which have been made to the Amir on several occasions. 
Mr. Curzon quotes one of 1880. I believe that the words 
used in another, in 1883 or 1884, were to the effect that so 
long as the Amir conformed to our advice he would be 
assisted in repelling unprovoked aggression, and that her 
Majesty's Government did not intend to permit interference 


by any foreign Power with the internal or external affairs of 
Afghanistan. The Amir has undoubtedly conformed to our 
advice, and under this pledge we are, in my opinion, bound 
to him. Again, when the Amir came to India in 1885, it 
is understood that Lord DufFerin told him that a Russian 
advance upon his frontier would be met by England by war 
all over the world. It was immediately after this that the 
Amir said publicly in Durbar, in Lord Duflferin's presence, 
* The British Government has declared that it will assist me 
in repelling any foreign enemy ; f and the Viceroy appeared 
to accept this as an accurate statement of fact. 1 

Now I do not suppose that any Englishman is Their 
desirous either of withdrawing from the pledged word t?on rpr *" 
of England, or of committing an act of desertion that 
would bring upon us the merited hostility of the 
Afghans. I do not say that the unprovoked viola- 
tion of the north-west Afghan frontier by Kussia 
can be tacitly accepted, or that England is to submit 
without a murmur to so gross an outrage upon 
international faith. Eussian statesmen understand 
perfectly well that such an act involves a legitimate 
casus belli, and they will probably only have delibe- 
rate recourse to it when they wish to provoke war 
with Great Britain, or after hostilities have already 
broken out. English statesmen understand the act 
in the same sense, and are not likely to repudiate any 
obligation which it may impose upon them. But the 
point upon which I insisted before, and which I repeat 
now, is, that there is nothing in any engagement to 
Abdurrahman Khan, public or private, compelling 
British troops to undertake the insane and pre- 
posterous task, at the beck even of an allied and 

1 Fortnightly Review, April, 1889. 


loyal Amir, of advancing many hundreds of miles' 
from their base into a country from which, in the event 
of disaster, retreat would be impossible, of forcibly 
turning Russia out of the positions which by craft or 
by force she might have acquired, and of re-establish- 
ing the purely arbitrary frontier-line fixed in 1885-7. 
This is the point which must be met, unpalatable 
though it may be, and to which the advocates of a 
too scrupulous interpretation of promises either have 
no answer at all, or return an answer so random and 
foolhardy as, for instance, when they recommend a 
British advance in force to Herat and the Oxus, and 
the expulsion of Russia from the Khanates as to 
excite ridicule rather than argument. At any 
moment the situation may present itself that Russia, 
with or without provocation, may decide to infringe 
the Afghan boundary, and to occupy either Balkh or 
Herat. What shall England do in reply ? To that 
question critics may reasonably be called upon to give 
a practical answer. England may, she perhaps will, 
declare war ; or, without actually declaring war, she 
may assist the Afghans by the loan of British officers 
and the gift of money and arms, in an attitude of 
active resistance. It is generally conceded that at 
such a juncture a British force should at once re- 
occupy Kandahar ; and should be prepared to occupy 
Ghuzni and Kabul, or positions commanding the 
approaches thereto, in co-operation with and support 
of the Afghans, so as to anticipate a Russian attack 
from the north. But, whatever maybe the immediate 
action that statesmen or generals decide to take, it is 


essential that England should retain absolute freedom 
of choice as to the employment of means, and that 
rash counsellors should not, by magnifying obligations 
or by minimising obstacles, draw her into a policy 
of militant vagrancy over regions which, if re- 
conquered, she would not be prepared to garrison, 
and where the utmost that she could effect would be 
to re-establish the status quo, only to be violated 
again in the future, at the unfettered discretion or 
selfish caprice of our opponents. 

The argument that any infraction of the newly- 
established Afghan frontier must, as a matter of 
honour, be followed by a British declaration of war, 
subject to no qualifications, has indeed only to be 
stated in its most likely mode of application, in order 
to be condemned. For, thus translated, what does 
it imply ? It means that any temporary, or incidental, 
or marauding, or even unauthorised, violation of the 
line between the boundary pillars by a sotnia of 
Cossacks, or a squad of Turkoman militia, under the 
command of some Alikhanoff or Targanoff, is to 
plunge a world in arms. Such a movement might 
take place any day, and has already more than once 
taken place, in response to an irruption from the 
Afghan side, which can either be provoked by in- 
tentional Russian insolence, or more covertly effected 
by the circulation of the paper rouble. To contend 
that such an incident must of necessity constitute a 
casus belli between the two Powers, is gratuitously to 
place in the hands of Eussia an advantage of over- 
whelming importance, nothing less in fact than the 

A A 


liberty to force England into a war whenever she 
pleases, and at the moment most convenient for herself 
or least agreeable to us. Supposing, for example, that 
General Boulanger came into power in France, and, 
as is very widely anticipated, sought to increase his 
popularity with his countrymen by giving us trouble, 
perhaps even by going to war with England, in or 
about Egypt ; and supposing that at such a moment 
a telegram arrived from Calcutta that a Eussian 
detachment had committed an act of ' unprovoked 
aggression ' upon Afghan territory and was encamped 
on the near side of the pillars what would be our 
position, if with one war already on hand in Europe, 
we were forced against our better judgment and by 
a false obligation to embark upon a roving expedition 
into the heart of Asia ? I have assumed no unlikely 
contingency ; but even if this be scouted as improbable, 
it will be in the power of every one of my readers to 
imagine a probable case, in which England would 
equally be the sufferer. 

, To the hyper- sensitive custodians of British 
of Afghan- honour one is tempted further to address the ques- 
tion, whether pledges and microscopic fidelity in their 
fulfilment are to be an obligation imposed upon one 
party alone, and that the party which has nothing to 
gain and not the most to lose by the conflict ? Are 
we to be bound to the chariot-wheels of the Amir, 
while the latter does nothing for us in return ? All 
offensive or defensive alliances impose duties and 
even risks upon those who make them; but these 
duties and risks are mutual, and should not be heaped 


upon the shoulders of one of the two contracting 
parties alone. There is no reciprocity in an engage- 
ment by which Abdurrahman is to have a lien upon 
the support of British troops in outlying portions of 
his dominions, whenever these happen to be invaded, 
but under which British soldiers, British officers, even 
British civilians, are not otherwise suffered to set 
foot in the country for whose alliance they pay in 
hard cash an engagement which does not even admit 
the presence of a British Eesident at the court whose 
policy we affect to control, or of British agents at 
the frontier-posts for which we are expected sub- 
missively to acquiesce in the summons to fight. To 
quote a familiar phrase, the engagement thus inter- 
preted is one in which England is to receive all the 
kicks and none of the halfpence. A far more re- 
munerative task than splitting hairs as to the verbal 
significance of British obligations to Afghanistan 
would be the attempt to ascertain what are Afghan 
obligations to Great Britain. 

For fifty years -Afghanistan has inspired the Britiah re- 
British people with a feeling of almost superstitious with 
apprehension. So gloomy a Nemesis has attended 
British proceedings in that country, our military 
annals are stained by so many Afghan memories of 
horror, that it is only with the greatest reluctance 
that Englishmen can be persuaded to have anything 
to do with so fateful a region. And yet there is no- 
thing inherent either in the country or in its people, 
though the former is rugged and mountainous, and 
the latter are turbulent and treacherous, that should 



daunt English hearts or defy English arms. Other and 
less accessible countries, other and more difficult 
peoples, have been successfully assimilated or sub- 
dued. We owe our record of Afghan failure and 
disaster, mingled indeed with some brilliant feats 
and redeemed by a few noble names, to the amazing 
political incompetence that has with fine continuity 
been brought to bear upon our relations with suc- 
cessive Afghan rulers. For fifty years there has not 
been an Afghan Amir whom we have not alternately 
fought against and caressed, now repudiating and 
now recognising his sovereignty, now appealing to 
his subjects as their saviours, now slaughtering 
them as our foes. It was so with Dost Mohammed, 
with Shir Ali, with Yakub, and it has been so 
with Abdurrahman Khan. Each one of these men 
has known the British both as enemies and as patrons, 
and has commonly only won the patronage by the 
demonstration of his power to command it. Small 
wonder that we have never been trusted by Afghan 
rulers, or liked by the Afghan people! In the 
history of most conquering races is found some spot 
that has invariably exposed their weakness like the 
joints in armour of steel. Afghanistan has long been 
the Achilles' heel of Great Britain in the East. Im- 
pregnable elsewhere, she has shown herself uniformly 
vulnerable here. 

Without recapitulating ancient history, it may 
briefly be stated that our relations with Afghanistan 
in the forty years between 1838 and 1878 were suc- 
cessively those of blundering interference and of un- 


masterly (I have always supposed it to be a lapsiis 
calami to write 'masterly') inactivity. The first 
period, which is perhaps the darkest page in English 
history, culminated with the restoration of Dost 
Mohammed, the sovereign whom we had forcibly de- 
posed and defeated, but who ended by forcing his 
recognition upon us. The policy of the second 
period found some slight justification during his life- 
time for an abler ruler never controlled a tribal 
federation but was foolishly prolonged after his 
death into a very different era, when rival chieftains 
were contending for a supremacy, which we did no- 
thing whatever to decide, and when finally Shir Ali, 
the successful combatant, already estranged from 
England by a course of neglect, was known to be 
lending an ear to honeyed words from Eussia. Then 
the policy of unmasterly inactivity broke down with 
a crash. The second Afghan war ensued ; and after 
the now familiar display of mingled valour and in- 
capacity, which might have been directly modelled 
upon the pattern of 1841, England, having enthroned 
a new Amir, found herself confronted with the 
question, what was to be the character of the new 
regime. Lord Beaconsfield, it is known, favoured 
the adoption of an advanced or scientific Indian 
frontier, committing the border passes to British 
custody ; and, despairing of another Dost Mohammed, 
leaned towards a partition of Afghanistan among 
separate chieftains ; while he is even said (though 
such shortsightedness is scarcely conceivable) to 
have meditated the surrender of Herat to Persia* 


Mr. Gladstone, coming into power in 1880, before the 
close of the war, declined to endorse so forward a 
policy, and an alternative suggestion was required. 
No one 'had a word to say for the old unmasterly in- 
activity, which was buried without a sigh, and over 
whose gravestone, as above the nameless friar in 
Worcester cloisters, might be written the epitaph 
4 Miserrimus.' The new theory of a Buffer Afghanistan, 
independent though subsidised, and friendly though 
strong, was evolved. The British retired ; Kandahar 
was surrendered ; and Abdurrahman was left to 
carve out his own fortune. Accident has produced 
in 'him the very man for the purpose, the sole type of 
character that could give stability to so precarious a 
structure, and endow a stuffed figure with the sem- 
blance of life. 
Character Cruel, vindictive, overweeningly proud, but of 

ox Abdur- ^ . . 

inflexible purpose, fearless heart, and indomitable 
energy, he has spent a reign of nine years in inces- 
sant fighting, has broken down and drenched in blood 
every revolt of his mutinous subjects, has extended 
his dominions over all and more than the lands ruled 
by Dost Mohammed, and has even established his 
power in the difficult regions of the upper Oxus, in 
Badakshan, Wakhan, Shignan, and Eoshan. He Las 
never been friendly to Eussia since his return from 
Samarkand in 1880 ; and, though suspicious of 
English interference, and loth to see foreigners in his 
country, has given the British Government no reason 
to question his loyalty. The actual dependence of 
Abdurrahman upon England and his increasing 


willingness to admit it to his subjects, were signifi- 
cantly illustrated during the Ghilzai rebellion in 
August 1887, when a royal proclamation was posted 
in the Bazaar at Kandahar, to the effect that the 
British were holding in reserve six infantry divisions 
(of nine regiments each), as well as cavalry and artil- 
lery, ready to inarch into Afghanistan to assist the 
Amir against his enemies. There was of course not a 
grain of truth in the assertion. 

So long as Abdurrahman lives, a Buffer Afghan- His health 

. 11* / ftn ^ the 

istan may continue to figure in the list of indepen- future 
dent states. His health is, however, extremely 
precarious ; whilst at any time a ruler thus feared, 
and in parts detested, is exposed to the danger, 
which he recently so providentially escaped, of as- 
sassination. His two sons are not of royal blood, 
and would therefore not appeal to the loyalty of the 
Afghan tribes ; nor has either of them shown any 
capacity to succeed his father. Upon the death of 
the latter it is to be feared that a time of trouble will 
again recur, more critical than any of its predecessors, 
inasmuch as Eussia notoriously looks to such an 
emergency as providing an excuse for her next 
advance. Eival candidates for the throne will at 
once be forthcoming Is-hak Khan from Samarkand, 
possibly Ayub Khan from India, and very likely some 
other claimant in the country or from the Afghan 
army and in the state of civil war thus engendered, 
it will not be Kussia's fault if she does not pull some 
chestnuts out of the fire. 

There is very little concealment as to the nature 


of Russian projects in Afghanistan. Pilot balloons 
of Afghan- are constantly flown in the Russian press to test the 
currents of public feeling. Years ago Skobeleff 
wrote, 'It is ray conviction that if England and 
Eussia should have to knock up against each other 
in Central Asia, the nearer the better ; ' and a coter- 
minous frontier, involving direct contact, and multi- 
plying and magnifying to an incalculable extent the 
capacity to strike, is the present object of her ambi- 
tion. This coterminous frontier is supplied, in the 
Russian argument, by the long and lofty range of the 
Hindu Kush, the Great Divide of Central Asia, with 
its western prolongations, the Koh-i~baba, and the 
Siah Koh, extending to the Persian border south of 
Herat. In the territory south of the Hindu Kush 
Russia professes no immediate concern. Russian 
annexation up to the point named would mean the 
absolute Russification of all the Oxus Khanates from 
Badakshan westwards ; the Russian possession of 
Kunduz, Kliulm, Balkh, Shibergan, Siripul, Andkui, 
and Maimena ; and further west, of the entire Heri 
Rud basin, as well as of the fortress of Herat. I 
have pointed out elsewhere * that such a consumma- 
tion, so far from being retarded by physical obstacles, 
is facilitated by geographical and even ethnographical 
considerations; whilst in an earlier part of this 
chapter I have indicated the strategical advantages 
enjoyed by Russia in this quarter. But on the other 
hand Englishmen should know what the realisation 
of such a project would mean to this country and to 

1 Nineteenth Century, February 1889. 


the Indian Empire. It would involve the absolute ex- 
tinction of a strong and united Afghanistan ; for it 
would leave only the phantom of an Amir at Kabul, 
if it left that. It would hand over to Russia, a 
possible enemy, the two granaries of the Oxus basin. 
It would necessitate a considerable addition to the 
Indian army, and a burdensome charge upon Indian 
finance ; and, so long as English and Russian in- 
terests conflict in any part of the world, it would 
place the Indian Empire in perpetual risk of panic. 
These are the pros and cons which Englishmen will 
be called upon to balance, when the question is ripe 
for settlement a period that may come sooner than 
many imagine. We may some day be driven to par- 
tition as a pis aller. Let us at least not embrace it 
as a programme. 

In the face of such a crisis it may be worth while Tt e , 

J ^ Afghan 

to appraise some of the subsidiary factors on either arm y 
side. Of the quality of the Afghan army it is difficult 
to speak with positiveness. On paper it is said to be 
60,000 strong, and has an excellent organisation, 
based on the English model, first adopted in 1869 by 
Shir Ali, and since improved by Abdurrahman Khan. 
There are divisions, brigades, regiments, batteries, 
troops, and companies, adopting semi-British uniforms 
and English-sounding words of command. But 
though characterised by individual bravery, and for- 
midable in guerilla or mountain warfare, the entire 
force, in the absence of scientific drill or discipline, 
is quite unfitted to withstand a European army. The 
Bussians, who made mincemeat of the Afghan soldiery 


at the Kushk in 1885, profess the utmost contempt 
for them on the battle-field, although they are them- 
selves but partial judges, never having encountered 
the warlike tribesmen of the Kabul province, who 
have several times given the English great trouble. 
Since that date, moreover, the Afghan army has been 
rendered a more powerful body either for offence or 
defence by the distribution of the rifles and ammuni- 
tion which the Indian Government has from time to 
time given to Abdurrahman, and to the employment 
of which he owed his victory last year over Is-hak 
Khan. Inferior, however, though the army still may 
be from a European standpoint, it yet possesses 
fighting material that might be shaped in qualified 
hands into a valuable instrument of warfare. It was 
rumoured in 1888 that the Amir had applied for 
British officers to instruct and drill his troops ; and 
although the request was either not made, or if made 
was not granted, it is the unanimous opinion of 
British officers who know the country and its people, 
that, led by European commanders, the Afghans 
would make as fine a native soldiery as exists any- 
where in the East. It is indeed as a recruiting 
ground that Afghanistan may develop a new military 
and political importance in the near future, the 
Russians standing in urgent need of such an auxiliary 
owing to the craven and sedentary character of all 
the peoples, with the exception of the Turkomans, 
whom they have yet subdued ; and the English also 
requiring to tap some fresh springs of Eastern man- 
hood, in view of the progressive deterioration and loss 


of military instincts among those races on whose 
hereditary valour they have hitherto relied. To the 
English the experiment would be no new one. The 
Afridis already make capital soldiers, and have served 
us faithfully in several wars. The Jamshidi irregulars 
in the Amir's service provided an excellent cavalry 
escort to the English Boundary Commissioners in 
1884-5. Further to the south, the Beluchi levies, 
organised by Sir Eobert Sandeman, are a splendid 
body of men, and render invaluable service in the 
mountainous region which they patrol. Among the 
Pathans, Shinwarris, Duranis, Ghilzais, Hazaras, and 
other fighting tribes of Afghanistan, there is abun- 
dant material, which, if properly handled, with a due 
regard to tribal idiosyncrasies and traditions, and 
under guarantees of fixed payment, might in the 
future be converted into a loyal and impenetrable 
advanced guard protecting the glacis of the Indian 
Empire. It has been calculated that 200,000 fighting 
men might be thus recruited between the Eussian and 
English borders. Eussia is fully alive to the existence 
of such a possibility ; and if we do not use the material 
for defence, she will enlist it for offence. 

As regards the respective popularity of the two Sent i. 
nations with the Afghans there is probably not much 3 e the 
intrinsically tp choose. In either case there is towards* 
sufficient cause for dislike. Against the English England 
there is the memory of past invasions, the confidence 
inspired by Afghan successes, and the contempt ex- 
cited by a policy of stern reprisals followed by mis- 
interpreted retreat. Against the Eussians is the 


recollection of the unpardonable breach of faith to 
Shir Ali, who was entrapped by their counsels to his 
ruin and then abandoned, the more recent outrage 
on the Kushk, and the fear of a future destruction of 
native independence. On the other hand, British 
officers in the country have left on record that the 
Afghans manifested a most friendly bearing towards 
them, and spoke of them as brothers ; while the 
British Commissioners on their return to India, in 
October 1886, were received with much respect at 
Kabul. There can be no doubt that the surrender of 
Kandahar, though open to temporary misconception, 
and the general avoidance of recent intrusion into 
Afghan politics or the Afghan country, have predis- 
posed the mass of the people to a more favourable 
attitude towards England than at any time during the 
last twenty years. For their part, the Russians, with 
a sublime self-satisfaction, are equally convinced that 
Afghanistan, in common with the rest of the East, 
is thirsting for the Muscovite yoke. Apart from the 
circumstances of the hour, the Afghans in all proba- 
bility draw little distinction between the merits of the 
two Powers, their one object being to keep their own 
independence and clan organisation ; or, failing that, to 
make the best terms, and perhaps keep the worst faith, 
that they can with the conqueror. Herein lies a dis- 
tinct advantage to the British ; for England has shown 
clearly enough that she has no desire to tamper with 
Afghan freedom, while Russian advance can mean 
nothing short of annexation. To a large extent the 
security of the Indian Empire in the future may be 


said to depend upon the chance, now offered to Great 
Britain, of appearing, not as the enemy, but as the 
saviour, of Afghanistan. The present Amir has testi- 
fied his anti-Eussian bias, and his resolve to maintain 
the territorial integrity of his kingdom in his time by 
applying for the services of British officers and the 
gift of a siege train, to assist him in the fortification 
and defence of Herat; and by planting along his 
northern borders, both along Sir West Bidgeway's 
frontier, and along the left bank of the Oxus between 
Khulin and Kamiab, colonies of the most warlike 
Afghan tribes, to resist the process of absorption 
which Eussian intrigue was rumoured to be already 
effecting with the more facile Uzbeg material in those 
parts. Too much reliance, however, must not be 
placed upon the fighting capacity of the new garrisons. 
The rouble is a powerful instrument of conciliation ; 
and when the Comtc de Cholet records a clandestine 
visit of an Afghan frontier officer to the tent of Ali- 
khanoff at Pul-i-Khatun, he is probably relating no 
uncommon incident. 1 

It is scarcely possible to exaggerate the importance The future 
to Great Britain, indicated in the last paragraph, of m 
confirming the impression which the Afghan tribes 
are already beginning to hold, that the English are, 
and will be in the future still more, the defenders of 
their national liberty. It is the desirability of strength- 
ening this conviction that renders the present policy 
of England towards Afghanistan one of peculiar 
delicacy, and that may be held to some extent to 

1 Excursion en Turkestan, p. 124. 


explain the attitude of reserve for which the Indian 
Government might otherwise by some be held open 
to blame. Too active an interference in support of a 
ruler, whose savage dominion must be resented just 
in proportion as it is feared by his subjects, might con- 
vey the opposite impression of a sovereign imposed 
by hostile bayonets, and supported by alien rupees. 
On the other hand, while the Amir remains loyal, he 
has an unquestioned claim upon British backing. The 
English can neither afford to desert him, nor to allow 
their names to be too closely associated with the acts 
of an unmerciful and barbarous system of repression. 
If by a just mean the allegiance of Abdurrahman and 
the stability of his throne can for some time longer 
be secured, and if at the same time we can so clearly 
convey to the great Afghan tribes the dependence of 
their hopes of continued national existence upon our 
alliance, that, at the death of the Amir, we shall find 
them appealing to our help, rather than arming against 
our dictation the Indian Government may consider 
that it has solved the Gordian knot by loosening its 
folds instead of cutting them in twain. 

The Eussians are undoubtedly helped by the pro- 
digious reputation which they have acquired in 
Central Asia owing to an unchecked and apparently 
irresistible advance, by the credit that their troops 
enjoy of being merely the advanced guard of in- 
exhaustible numbers, and by the noise and swagger 
of their movement. It has been noticed by M. 
Bonvalot, as well as by British officers and travellers, 
that while the inhabitants of these regions are amazed 


at the wealth of England, they are impressed by the 
numerical strength of Eussia. 1 England from time 
to time hurls at them a handful of soldiery, which 
advances, conquers, and retires ; and they have no 
idea of what may be proceeding upon the other side 
of the Suleiman or Himalayan wall. Eussia, on the 
other hand, bears down upon them like the flood of 
an incoming tide, sweeping all before it along an ex- 
tended line of shore. It is the numbers and the self- 
assertion of Eussia to which Abdurrahman makes 
special allusion in his letter to the Viceroy of India, 
acknowledging the final settlement of the Afghan 
Boundary : 

It is one of the results and consequences of the sincere 
friendship of the two parties (i.e. England and Afghanistan) 
that the Russian Government, notwithstanding its large 
number of troops, its power , and Us natural noise and despot- 
ism, has entered the door of refraining and abstaining from 
conquest and war with these two auspicious Governments, as 
it knew that it (the war) would have an unhappy result, and 
would entail a heavy loss on itself. Had it not seen the 
foundation of the friendship of these two united kingdoms 
strong and firm, and the basis of the affection and sympathy 
of the two Governments solid and stable, it would hardly 
have come down from the palace of its desire and the man- 
sion of its wish to subjugate Afghanistan and occupy India. 
I look upon the kind friendship of the illustrious British 

1 Vide Major C. E. Yate's Northern Afghanistan, p. 303 : * The 
Afghans, I am sogry to say, are just as surprised as the Russians at 
the smallness of our army. An Afghan general asked me, " Why don't 
you keep a larger army ? Look at the Russians. They have no money 
but they have lots of men. You have lots of money but no men. Why 
don't you get more ? We are all ready to fight with you side by side," 
he added, and I believe he was sincere in saying so ; but still be shook 
bis head over the small number of our men.' 


Government as the cause of the flourish of the tree of the 
Afghan Government and it is undoubtedly so. 1 

Among the steps that have been suggested for 
i fortifying British influence in Afghanistan, and pro- 
curing timely warning of hostile intentions on the 
part of Russia, is the institution of British officers 
at the advanced outposts of Balkh (Mazar-i-Sherif), 
Maimena, and Herat. This has long been a vexata 
qutestio of Central Asian politics, bequeathed from the 
days of Dost Mohammed and Lord Lawrence. Dost 
Mohammed treated the refusal of such a concession 
as a matter of principle, and is said to have trans- 
mitted it to his son on his death-bed. Shir Ali, while 
never wavering in his opinion about Kabul, where 
he argued that the appointment of a British officer 
would both be unsafe, and would entail a loss of 
prestige upon himself, was disposed at the Umballa 
Durbar in 1869 to consider favourably the appoint- 
ment of agents at Balkh and Herat. Lord Mayo, how- 
ever, was reluctant to commit himself to so positive a 
step ; and when the project was revived at the Pesha- 
wur conference in 1877, Shir All's envoy would not 
hear of any such concession. The murder of Cavag- 
nari at Kabul in 1879, after the second Afghan war 
had led to his nomination as Resident at the Court of 
the Amir, naturally disposed men's minds to revert 
to the policy of non-interference, and to magnify the 
wisdom of Dost Mohammed and Shir Ali ; and the 
proposal for a British representative at Kabul has not 

1 Letter written on August 16, 1887. Vide Parliamentary Papers, 
' Central Asia,' No. 1, 1888, p. 21. 


since been revived. The argument, however, that 
might be thought to hold good of the capital does 
not equally apply to Herat and Balkh, the former of 
which places is inhabited by a mixed Iranian and 
non- Afghan race, well-disposed towards the English, 1 
and not given to violence or intrigue, while the latter 
possesses an Uzbeg or Turki population of similar 
characteristics. I cannot help thinking that British 
officers might now with perfect safety be despatched 
to both these places. Herat, indeed, has twice been 
governed for a considerable time by Englishmen, by 
Pottinger in 1838, and by D'Arcy Todd in 1840, and 
has lately been fortified under the direction of British 
officers ; and if Abdurrahman attaches any value, as 
he unquestionably does, to the retention of Afghan 
Turkestan and the Herat province, he should be the 
first to see the wisdom of such an arrangement. At 
Kandahar a similar appointment is perhaps un- 
necessary, or is certainly less necessary, as the town 
is within a few miles of the British frontier, and its 
inhabitants are said to look back regretfully upon the 
British occupation of 1879-81. As regards Kabul, 
though historical precedent is ominous, and the desire 
not to wound Afghan susceptibilities is praiseworthy, 
there is an undeniable absurdity in presenting 
120,0002. a year and scientific weapons of warfare to 
a monarch at whose court we are not even permitted 
to maintain a diplomatic representative, bh Bartle 
Frere said very pertinently in 1881 : 

1 "Vide Captain A. C. Yate's Travels with the Afghan Boundary 
Commission, p. 375 ; and Major C. E. Yate's Northern Afghanistan, 
pp. 15, 18, 21. 

B B 


I have never believed in the validity of this objection 
(i.e. the insecurity of the English envoy), and I should con- 
sider it quite chimerical unless it were formally stated by the 
ruler himself. In that case, I should point out to him the 
absurdity of his calling himself the ruler of a country where 
he could not ensure the safety of an honoured guest. I 
should decline to communicate with him except through a 
representative accredited to him, like our envoys at other 
Asiatic courts, and I should state clearly the impossibility of 
our talking of friendly relations with a nation where our 
representative would not be welcomed. 1 

Li the same context Sir Charles MacGregor argued 
that if A were murdered, we ought to send B, and if 
B were murdered, then C, and so on ; a logic which, 
however incontestable and, to the student of Anglo- 
Afghan diplomacy, refreshing, is more congenial to 
Eussian than it is to British methods. It may be 
pointed out that the present is a singularly opportune 
moment for the renewal of such a demand, the attitude 
of the Afghans being friendly, and the appointment of 
English officers being now less susceptible of inter- 
pretation as a badge of Afghan subjection, than as 
a guarantee of British alliance. In an emergency 
native substitutes, such as we now maintain at Kabul 
and Herat, though they may do passably well in 
untroubled times, will be found lacking both in 
authority and prestige. 

impending Finally I turn to the question of impending de- 
ments of velopments of the Anglo-Russian question, and to 
BuBsian the steps, precautionary or otherwise, that should 
be taken by this country. 

1 Africa and India. By Sir Bartle Frere. 1881. 


Though the attention of both our statesmen and i. Baikh- 

. Kabul line 

our soldiers has for long been mainly concentrated 
upon the Herat-Kandahar line of advance, owing 
to the superior physical advantages of the route for 
an invading army, and though the Transcaspian 
Bailway facilitates and encourages such a movement 
on the part of Russia, it will be a great mistake if 
we ignore the possibility of the selection of the 
Balkh-Kabul line. The very fact that Great Britain 
has been spending millions of money, laying miles of 
rails, boring a tunnel, and constructing extensive 
fortified outworks in Pishin, may tempt the Russians, 
who are not fonder than any other people of putting 
their head into the lion's mouth, to make an experi- 
ment in another direction. Kabul is at once the 
capital of the sovereign, and the headquarters and 
rallying-place of Afghan fanaticism. Without Kabul 
the Russians might boast of no mean conquest in 
the acquisition of Herat and Afghan Turkestan. 
But the conquest would not be of the Afghan ruler 
or of the Afghan people. Once at Kabul, however, 
or in command of the routes to Kabul, they would 
have driven a wedge into the heart of Afghanistan 
itself, and would compel the Amir to become either 
a fugitive or a puppet; whilst their position there 
would have a secondary effect of equal strategical 
importance, inasmuch as it would enable them to 
turn the flank of a British army on the Helmund or 
at Kandahar. At Kabul, too, the greater proximity 
to India will always constitute a temptation to 
Russia ; though it may be argued that this is counter- 



balanced by the greater distance from her base on 
the Oxus, and by the danger to which a Russian force 
at Kabul would always be exposed, of being cut off 
in the winter months, when the defiles of the Hindu 
Kush, from 9,000 to 12,000 feet high, are impassable 
from ice and snow. On the other hand, the Kabul 
district possesses a superior fertility and cultivation 
to any other portion of Northern Afghanistan, and 
might constitute an advanced base in itself. We 
shall do well, therefore, to keep a very watchful eye 
upon Kabul and the North, and, as soon as our 
defensive operations are completed in Pishin, to see 
whether there is not another door to the Indian 
stable that still stands ajar. Twice in the last half 
century has Kabul been made the cockpit of British 
disaster ; it may yet come to be regarded as a citadel 
of British salvation. 

What action is required, or what steps should be 
taken for its protection or reinforcement, it is for 
soldiers and strategists to say. It was proposed 
after the second Afghan War to continue the rails 
from Peshawar up the Kliyber Pass to Lundi Kotal 
(the frontier outpost held by an Afridi garrison). 
This project has since been abandoned ; and a limited 
extension, only ten miles in length, within British 
territory, from Peshawur, to Jumrood at the mouth 
of the pass, has been authorised. In face of the 
contingencies which I have named, the larger scheme 
may again be heard of ; and to those who detect in 
such a proposal the glimmer of Jingo war-paint, I 
make the unhesitating and unequivocal reply, based 


upon a personal inspection of both the Indian and 
the Russian frontier railways (in each case origin- 
ally constructed for strategical purposes), that there 
is no such means of pacifying an Oriental country 
as a railway, even a military railway ; and that if for 
bullets and bayonets we substitute roads and railroads 
as the motto of our future policy towards Afghanistan, 
we shall find ourselves standing upon the threshold of 
a new and brighter era of relations with that country. 
Another proposal is to establish an advanced 
British position at Peiwar Kotal or thereabouts, at 
the head of the Kurum Valley, commanding the ap- 
proach both to Ghuzni and from the south to Kabul. 
The Kurum Valley is not in Afghan possession, being 
one of the assigned districts ceded to Great Britain 
by the treaty of Gundamuk in May 1879, and subse- 
quently handed over by us, as a reward for faithful 
services during the war, to the local tribe of the Turis, 
who, being Shiite Mahometans, are antagonistic to the 
Sunnite Afghans, and who are understood not merely 
not to object to, but even to desire, British reoccu- 
pation. It was part of the scheme of Lord Beacons- 
field's Scientific Frontier to station a British garrison 
at Peiwar, and to raise a local corps for military ser- 
vice. A good road, more than once utilised in our 
Afghan campaigns, leads up the Kurum Valley from 
the present Indian frontier to Peiwar ; and the posi- 
tion thus acquired would, without wounding Afghan 
susceptibilities, possess a double strategical signifi- 
cance, both as providing an alternative route to Kabul 
and as facilitating the relief or occupation of Ghuzni. 


ii. The A second, and in some respects an even more 


Question probable, arena of future activity is presented by 
Persia and the Persian Question. Persia stands a 
good second to Afghanistan in the category of British 
diplomatic failure in the East, the result in this in- 
stance less of positive error than of deplorable 
neglect. The Russian situation in Persia at the 
present moment may be roughly indicated by the 
statement that it is the counterpart, on a much more 
extended scale, of that which was enjoyed by England 
in the early years of this century. The influence 
and authority then exercised at Teheran by British 
representatives have now been transferred to our 
rivals, who possess the further advantage, never 
owned by us, of a complete military and strategical 
ascendency along the entire northern frontier of 
Persia from the Araxes to the Heri Rud. With 
Transcaucasia strongly garrisoned by Russian troops, 
the Caspian a Russian lake, and Transcaspia a 
military province, traversed by a railway, Persia is 
in the position of the scriptural vineyard whose wall 
is broken down, and the King of kings is as helpless 
as a fly in a spider's web. His powerlessness culmi- 
nates in the eastern province of Khorasan, where 
the commercial monopoly of Russia has already been 
mentioned, and which is fast becoming a Russian 
mediatised state. The Khans of Bujnurd, Kuchan, 
Dereguez, and Kelat wear Russian clothes and learn 
the Russian language. Presents are freely distributed 
among them by the Russian authorities in Trans- 
caspia, and Russian brandy and arrack complete 


the dissolvent process. Russian agents are scattered 
through all the important towns. A Eussian Consul- 
General with a Cossack escort dominates Meshed. 
In the country districts the Russians have earned 
popularity by putting a successful stop to the 
Turkoman raids by which the miserable native 
peasantry was formally harassed and decimated; 
while their administration, with its astute exemptions 
for native peoples, would be preferred by many to the 
imbecile depravity of Persian rule. As long ago as 
1875 Sir Charles MacGregor reported in his journey 
through the country that the people were longing 
for the Russians to come ; and later on a petition 
to the Czar is said to have been circulated and 
extensively signed among the towns and villages of 
Khorasan, praying for incorporation. 

Not satisfied with an ascendency apparently so Russian 
well secured, Russia, in response to the challenge ency and 
thrown down by Great Britain in the matter of the weakness 
Karun River concession in the South, has recently 
been giving a few more turns to the diplomatic screw 
in the North. The concessions demanded by Prince 
Dolgorouki, and rumoured to have been partially 
conceded by the Shah, include a Russian monopoly 
of railway construction in Persia, the completion of 
the cliaussie before spoken of between Askabad and 
Meshed, the opening up to Russian navigation of the 
Enzeli lagoon, and the construction of a high road 
from Resht to Teheran. The demand of a railway 
concession has an importance that will presently be 
seen. The two concluding stipulations mean the 


conversion of the Enzeli lagoon, which is the maritime 
approach to Resht, into a Russian harbour, and of 
Resht itself into a Russian town ; and, as a conse- 
quence of this fact and of the improved communi- 
cations with the capital, the final Russification of 
Teheran. There is not either in the Persian sovereign, 
in the Persian administration, in the Persian army, 
or in the Persian people, any material capable of 
opposing a prolonged resistance to these or any 
demands that Russia may choose by threats to 
enforce. The Shah, whatever he may feel, and he 
probably feels bitterly, cannot act. The administra- 
tion is utterly rotten and corrupt. The only valuable 
portion of the army, consisting of the so-called 
Cossack regiments at Teheran i.e. Persians trained, 
drilled, and equipped upon the Russian model, and 
commanded by Russian officers is an instrument in 
Russia's hands. No unity or national spirit exists in 
the country. A distinguished foreign diplomat is 
said to have once remarked, after a long Persian ex- 
perience : ' Cest le dernier des pays et le dernier des 

What, however, it may be asked, is the significance, 

11 v IT P -n 

in and wherein, it at all, lies the danger of Russian as- 

cendency in Northern Persia and Khorasan? This 
question I will answer. I have already pointed out the 
serious and irremediable loss inflicted thereby upon 
British trade ; and it is in Persia that the commercial 
rivalry between Russia and Great Britain is at present 
a factor of more momentous operation than in any 
other part of the East. But Russian statesmanship, 


here as elsewhere, has a political and strategical as 
well as a fiscal aim. Just as the control of N. and N.W. 
Persia supplies a base against Armenia arid the fron- 
tier provinces of Turkey in Asia Minor, so the absorp- 
tion of N.E. Persia and Khorasan will provide an 
alternative route of advance, either upon Herat or, 
through Seistan, upon Beluchistan and India itself, 
With Khorasan a Russianised province, there will be 
no need to .violate any Anglo-Afghan frontier ; the 
resources of that fertile county will furnish the re- 
quisite supplies ; Herat may either be approached 
from the west or for a while may be left severely 
alone ; the Khojak and Quetta may be coolly disre- 
garded; and the newly-fortified British frontier in 
Pishin may even find itself turned from the west. 
Such is a more than possible evolution, in the near 
future, of Russian policy in Central Asia. 

But there is greater mischief than the prospective An eye 
overland danger to India lurking in the conception. Persian 6 
Russia, hampered in warfare by being mainly a land 
power, has long been on the search for a new sea- 
board, and has directed cove tons eyes upon the Persian 
Gulf. The acquisition of North Persia and Khorasan 
is only preliminary to a southerly move towards the 
Straits of Ormuz or the Indian Ocean. Now, therefore, 
appears in all its significance the demand for a rail- 
way concession throughout Persia, as the obvious 
and necessary means of effecting that advance. Of 
Russian supremacy in North Persia, I do not think 
that Englishmen, having foolishly allowed the prize 
to slip from their grasp long years ago, have much 


right to complain, though with it they are fully en- 
titled and ought to compete. But Bussia at Ispahan, 
Shiraz, and Bushire, Kussia on the Persian Gulf 
with a seaport, a naval dockyard and a fleet, is a 
very different thing. The commercial argument, 
weighty before, is even more weighty here ; for at 
present England enjoys almost a monopoly, and that 
a highly lucrative monopoly, of the import trade with 
Southern Persia. But, again, the political and strate- 
gical arguments are stronger still. Are we prepared 
to surrender the control of the Persian Gulf and to 
divide that of the Indian Ocean ? Are we prepared 
to make the construction of the Euphrates Valley 
Railway, or of some kindred scheme of the future,, 
an impossibility for England and an ultimate certainty 
for Eussia? Is Bagdad to become a new Russian 
capital in the South ? Lastly, are we content to see 
a naval station within a few days' sail of Kurrachi, 
and to contemplate a hostile squadron battering 
Bombay ? 

British I do not think there can be two opinions among 

rejoinder Englishmen that there is no justification, either in 
policy or in reason, for exposing India to such a danger, 
or for allowing South Persia to fall into Russian 
hands. But, it may be asked, how can such a con- 
summation be prevented ? It can be prevented only 
by Great Britain undertaking the task herself, with 
no view to territorial annexation or increase of ad- 
ministrative responsibility, but with sole regard to the 
maintenance in South Persia of British as against 
Russian commercial and political interests. In other 


connection, which might be effected either by a 
branch from Darwaza, at the head of the Quetta valley, 
or from Gulistan, at the base of the Amran range, to 
Nushki, and thence to Nasirabad and Lash Juwain ; 
or, as suggested by others, the Kandahar extension, 
when completed, might be still further extended to 
Oirishk, whence, from a more northerly direction, the 
same objective could easily be attained. In neither 
case do physical obstacles worth consideration inter- 

Such a railway would be essentially a commercial, 

a Heititan _ . . 

railway and not a strategical undertaking, inasmuch as it 
would not merely open up Seistan, but would provide 
a southern way of entiy into Khorasan itself, which 
would be brought into nearer communication with the 
Indian Ocean. At the same time its execution might 
act as a deterrent to any Eussian operations against 
Herat, and would effectually checkmate the flank 
movement against Beluchistan, which I just now 
described. Of all the possible suggestions for coun- 
teracting Eussian menace to India by pacific and 
honourable means, the construction of such a rail- 
way is at once the least aggressive, the cheapest, and 
the most profitable. Connection with the seaboard 
might be effected later on by a southerly branch to 
Gwadur, on the Indian Ocean, or to Bender Abbas, 
on the Persian Gulf. Looking still further into the 
future, we may contemplate as feasible an extension 
of the railway system, thus inaugurated, through 
South Persia rid Kirman and Yezd to Ispahan, 
Shiraz, and Bushire; in which direction a junction 


would naturally be effected with the commercial 
routes opened up by the Karun River concession, to 
which it would constitute the appropriate corollary. 
The policy thus recommended is not difficult, and 
would in time be enormously remunerative. It in- 
volves no offence, and would be the salvation of 
Southern Persia. There is not the slightest reason 
why it should not be carried out, if the consent of 
the Shah were forthcoming ; and powerless though he 
be in the clutch of Russia in the north, I am unable to 
see why, in a matter affecting the southern portion 
of his dominions, with which Eussia can profess no 
straightforward or legitimate concern, Prince Dol- 
gorouki should be the sole custodian of the royal ear. 

In bringing this chapter to a close, I am conscious summary 

e \ 9 of this 

of having covered a wide area, from the Pamir to chapter 
Persia, and of having inadequately touched upon 
many important topics. My object, however, has 
been, to the best of my ability, to expose the pre- 
sent character and dimensions of the Anglo-Russian 
problem, nowhere, so far as I know, discussed in its en - 
tirety ; to supply the material for a horoscope of the 
future by a careful examination of the antecedents, 
the position, the designs, the advantages, and also 
the drawbacks, of both parties in the possible struggle, 
and to indicate to my readers some of the pre- 
cautionary measures by which that struggle may 
either be averted, or, if not averted, may be contem- 
plated by this country without apprehension. 




Not but wut abstract war is horrid 

I sign to thet with all my heart ; 
But civlysation does git forrid 

Sometimes upon a powder cart. 

J. B. LOWELL, The Biglow Papers. 

Merits and demerits of Russian rule Abolition of raids and gift of 
security- -Russian power firmly established Its causes Memory 
of slaughter Overpowering military strength of Russia Certainty 
that she will not retreat Popularity of Russia L aissez-faire 
attitude Treatment of native chiefs Conciliation of native 
peoples Defects of Russian character Low civilisation Attitude 
towards Mahometan religion Towards native education Bravery 
and endurance of Russian character Military ease of Russian 
advance Contrast between English and Russian facilities Com- 
parative security of dominions Seamy side of Russian civilisation 
Bad roads General conclusions as to Russian government 
Schemes for regeneration of the country Irrigation Diversion of 
the Oxus to its old bed Cotton plantation Sericulture and viti- 
cultureColonisation Attitude of Great Britain Responsibilities 
of Russia. 

Merits and FROM a discussion of the rival interests of England 

demerits . . 

of, RuBaian and Russia in Central Asia, I proceed, in conclusion, 
to give some account of the strength, and if anywhere 
it be so, of the weakness of Russian rule. No possi- 
bility of future collision, no fear of ultimate conflict, 
need deter an Englishman from an honest recognition 
of national merit, or of services rendered to the cause 
of humanity. In a sphere distinct, and yet not alien, 


from that in which Great Britain has herself achieved 
many successes and perpetrated some failures, friendly 
criticism is permissible, while jealousy is absurd. 

First, then, it cannot be doubted that Eussia has Abolition 
conferred great and substantial advantages upon the and^t of 
Central Asian regions which she has reduced to her 
sway. Those who have read descriptions of the state 
of the country from the Caspian to the Amu Daria, 
in the pre-Kussian days of rapine and raid, when 
agriculture was devastated, life and property rendered 
insecure, and entire populations were swept off under 
circumstances of unheard-of barbarity into a life-long 
servitude, can form some idea of the extent of the 
revolution by which peace and order and returning 
prosperity have been given to these desolated tracts ; 
and the traveller, who once dared not move abroad 
without a powerful escort, is enabled to wander with 
impunity over the unfrequented plain. The experi- 
ences of Vambery, of MacGregor, of Valentine Baker, 
and of every English voyager in or near the Tur- 
koman country, contrasted with my own modest 
narrative, illustrate the immensity of the boon. At 
a comparatively recent date the members of the 
Boundary Commission reported that, till within three 
or four years before their visit, Turkoman marauders 
used to scour the country as far as Farrah, 150 miles 
south of Herat, that between Sarakhs and Kuhsan 
the land was utterly depopulated, and that raiding- 
parties were pushed to the very walls of Meshed. 1 

1 Vide Captain A. C. Yate's Travels with the Afghan Boundary 
Commission, pp. 150-159. 


Except among the Persian Turkomans of the Atrek 
border, the alaman may be said now to be a thing of 
the past. 

Let me quote here the words of Sir Henry 
Eawlinson on the subject, spoken at a meeting of 
the Eoyal Geographical Society in 1882 : 

No one will question but that the extension of Russian 
arms to the east of the Caspian has been of immense benefit 
to the country. The substitution, indeed, of Russian rule for 
that of the Kirghiz, U/Jbegs, and Turkomans throughout a 
large portion of Central Asia has been an unmixed blessing 
to humanity. The execrable slave trade, with its concomi- 
tant horrors, has been abolished, brigandage has been sup- 
pressed, and Mahometan fanaticism and cruelty have been 
generally mitigated and controlled. Commerce at the same 
time has been rendered more secure, local arts and manufac- 
tures have been encouraged, and the wants of the inhabitants 
have been everywhere more seriously regarded than is usual 
under Asiatic rulers. 

This is at once a significant and a handsome admis- 
sion, coming, as it does, from one whom Eussian 
writers are never tired of representing as choregus 
of the choir of English Eussophobes and Jingoes. 
Voyaging through the country myself, and seeing on 
all sides the mouldering fortalices and towers that 
spoke so eloquently of the savage tenure of the past, 
I could not repress a feeling of gratitude to those 
who had substituted peace for chronic warfare, and 
order for barbaric anarchy. The desolation from 
which the land still suffers is the product of natural 
causes, whose operation may be checked but cannot 
be altogether reversed ; and not of human passions, 


which were so long and ruthlessly devoted to making 
still more terrible the terrors of the desert. If we 
still meet with but a scanty population, if the towns 
are more like villages, and the villages like clusters 
of hovels, and if civilisation is still in an embryonic 
stage, let us remember that it is only a decade since 
there was neither sedentary population, nor town, 
nor civilisation ; and that thus a land is being slowly 
won to the service of man which man himself has 
hitherto rendered a byword and a curse. The Russian 
eagle may at first have alighted upon the eastern 
shores of the Caspian with murderous beak and sharp- 
ened talons, but, her appetite once satisfied, she has 
shown that she also came with healing in her wings. 
Turning to the dominion of Russia and the 
means by which it is assured, I make with equal miyes- 

J . tablished. 

pleasure the acknowledgment that it appeared to ite cause* 
me to be firmly and fairly established, and to be 
loyally accepted by the conquered races. Though 
we hear a good deal in books of the fanaticism of 
Mussulman populations, and might expect still more 
from the resentment of deposed authority, or the 
revenge of baffled licence, revolts do not occur and 
mutinies are not apprehended among the subjugated 
peoples. I attribute this to several reasons : to the 
ferocious severity of the original blow ; to the power- 
lessness of resistance against the tight military grip 
that is kept by Russia upon the country ; and to the 
certainty, which a long course of Russian conduct 
has reasonably inspired, that she will never retreat* 
A few words about each of .these. 

c c 


Memory o! The terrifying effect of such a massacre as Geok 

laughter . 

Tepe survives for generations. The story is repeated 
from father to son, and from son to grandson, losing 
none of its horror in the process of lineal transmis- 
sion. The ruined walls of the fortress remain to 
add a melancholy emphasis to the tale. Meanwhile, 
though the fathers were slain, the sons have grown 
up into contented citizenship. Several of the sur- 
vivors stand high in the service of the conqueror. 
A new generation has heard with a shudder the tale 
of national downfall, but itself only remembers a 
later order, and can scarcely imagine a time when 
the Ouroussi were not masters in the land. 
Over- The second reason, viz. the overpowering military 

miuS* strength of Eussia in the country, is even more 
cogent in its application, and must be held to detract 
somewhat from the brilliancy of her achievement. 
The proportion of soldiers to subjects in Transcaspia 
and Turkestan (figures of which, contrasted with 
those of British India, I gave in an earlier chapter) 
is such as to render any attempt at opposition a 
fiasco. Eussian Central Asia is indeed one vast 
armed camp, and the traveller, who in the course of 
several weeks' journey scarcely sets eyes upon a 
Eussian civilian, comes away with respect for the 
discretion, but without much surprise at the peaceful 
attitude, of the people. When the Russians boasted 
to me, as they habitually did, of their own popularity^ 
contrasted with British odium in India, I could not 
help remembering that I had seen a great Indian 
city of 80,000 inhabitants, and a hotbed of idolatrous 


superstition, held in peaceful control by four English 
civilians, without the aid of a single red-coat. I 
could not help recalling the lacs of rupees, amount- 
ing to hundreds of thousands of pounds sterling, 
spontaneously offered by Indian princes, in order 
that this very popularity, of which I now heard so 
much, might not be brought any nearer to their 
doors, but that the familiar odium might continue to 
be their lot. Nor could I forget Lord Duff'erin's offer 
to the Punjabi chiefs, that their irregular troops 
should, under native command, but by the aid of 
British instruction, be turned into disciplined bat- 
talions, and presented with breechloading rifles and 
batteries of guns. Kecalling these facts, _ and com- 
paring them with what I saw in Transcaspia, I did 
not feel that the inequality was precisely what my 
Russian friends supposed. 

A conviction of the permanence of Eussia and certainty 
of Eussian conquests is a third and important ele- wiiinot 
ment in explaining the bases of her power. A 
forward movement, whether voluntarily undertaken, 
or beneath the pressure of circumstances, is seldom re- 
pented of and never receded from. 1 No return tickets 
are issued to a punitive foray of Cossacks. Advance 
is inexorably followed by annexation. ' J'y suis, fy 
reste,' is the watchword of the Eussian vanguard. 
There is no likelihood of 'making it so hot' for 

1 The case of Kulja, occupied by Russia in 1871, and restored to 
China in 1881, may F eem, but is not, an exception, for its occupation 
was merely temporary and conditional ; and, as a matter of fact, the 
pledge of retrocession was not redeemed by Russia without a substan- 
tial quid pro quo, the extortion of which all but led to war. 



Eussia that, for sake of peace, or economy, or men's 
lives, she will waver or fall back. A hornets' nest 
raised about her head is followed, not by a hasty 
withdrawal of the intruding member, but by a 
wholesale extermination of the insects. How different 
from the English method, which shrinks from annexa- 
tion as from a spectre ; which publishes to the world, 
including the guilty party, its chivalrous design of 
Eetribution followed by Eetreat, and which, instead 
of reaping from a frontier campaign the legitimate 
harvest of assured peace and good government in the 
future, leaves the smouldering embers of revenge in 
the ruins of burnt villages and desolated crops, 
certain, sooner or later, to burst out into a fresh 
conflagration ! 

Popularity ft would be unfair, however, both to Eussian 
character and to Eussian policy, to suggest that it is 
owing solely to prudential reasons that there is no 
visible antagonism to her sway. Such calculations 
may ensure its stability, but they do not explain its 
favour. I gladly, therefore, add the recognition that, 
so far as I was able to ascertain, Eussian dominion is 
not merely accepted by, but is acceptable to the bulk 
of her Asiatic subjects, and that the ruling class, 
though feared, is also personally esteemed. Eussia 
unquestionably possesses a remarkable gift for en- 
listing the allegiance and attracting even the friend^ 
ship of those whom she has subdued by force ;of 
arms, a faculty which is to be attributed as much to 
the defects as to the excellences of her character. 
Let me first mention the latter. 


The extreme frankness and amiability of Eussian 

t' t i 

manners cover a genuine bonhomie and a good- attitude 

humoured insouciance, which render it easy for them 
to make friends and which disarm the suspicion even 
of a beaten foe. The Eussian fraternises in the true 
sense of the word. He is guiltless of that air of con- 
scious superiority and gloomy hauteur, which does 
more to inflame animosity than cruelty may have done 
to kindle it, and he does not shrink from entering into 
social and domestic relations with alien or inferior 
races. His own unconquerable carelessness renders it 
easy for him to adopt a laissez-faire attitude towards 
others, and the tolerance with which he has treated 
the religious practices, the social customs, and the 
local prejudices of his Asiatic fellow-subjects is less 
the outcome of diplomatic calculation than it is of 
ingrained nonchalance. 

A remarkable feature of the Eussification of Treatment 
Central Asia is the employment given by the con- 
queror to her former opponents on the field of battle. 
I mentioned in an earlier chapter the spectacle of 
which I was* a witness at Baku, where the four Khans 
of Merv were assembled in Eussian uniform to greet 
the Czar. This is but a casual illustration of a method 
that Eussia has consistently employed, and which is a 
branch of the larger theory of Massacre followed by 
Embraces that was so candidly avowed by SkobelefE 
The chiefs are sent to St. Petersburg to excite their 
wonderment, and are covered with decorations to 
gratify their vanity. When they come back they are 
confirmed in their posts or offices, and are presently 


rewarded with an increased prerogative. Their small 
number is, of course, a reason why they may be so 
employed with impunity. The English have never 
shown a capacity to avail themselves of the services 
of their former enemies on a similar scale. I re- 
member reading only a short time ago an account 
given by an old Boer of the British annexation of the 
Transvaal, and the troubles, culminating in Majuba 
Hill, that ensued. His explanation of the discontent 
and rebellion was a very simple one, and probably 
contained a good deal of truth. ' If you had made 
maaters (chums)/ he said, * with Oom Paul (Kruger), 
and a few others of our leading men, and given them 
posts, and if you had listened a little to them, and had 
not been so terribly hoogmoedaag (high and mighty), 
all would have gone well/ The ' high and mighty ' 
policy has been at the root of a good many English 
failures, just as its converse has been responsible for 
a good many Eussian successes. 
Concilia- With the followers a not less successful policy is 

adopted than towards the chiefs. As soon as fighting 

is over they are invited back to their homesteads, and 
to the security of undisputed possession tempered by 
a moderate taxation. The peasant is satisfied, because, 
under more scientific management, he gets so many 
cubic feet more water from his canals and so many 
bushels more grain from his land. The merchant is 
pleased, because he sells his wool or his cotton at a 
bigger price than it realised before. All are amenable 
to the comfort and utility and cheapness of Eussian 
Manufactured articles, in contrast with the clumsy 


and primitive furniture of their previous lives. Above 
all, security is a boon which none can depreciate ; 
and if the extinction of the alaman is a cause of 
regret to a few scores or hundreds, it is an unmixed 
blessing to thousands. Eussian authority presents 
itself to the native populations in the twofold guise 
of liberty and despotism : liberty, because in many 
respects they enjoy a freedom which they never knew 
before ; despotism, centred in the image of the Great 
White Czar, which is an inalienable attribute of 
government to the Oriental mind. 

We may trace indeed, in the panorama of Eussian 
advance, a uniform procession of figures and succession 
of acts, implying something more than a merely ad- 
ventitious series of events. First comes the Cossack, 
brave in combat and affable in occupation, at once 
the instrument of conquest and the guarantee of re- 
tention. Next follow the merchant and the pedlar, 
spreading out before astonished eyes the novel wares, 
the glittering gewgaws, and the cheap conveniences of 
Europe. A new and lucrative market is opened for 
native produce. Prompt payment in hard cash proves 
to be a seductive innovation. Presently appear the 
priest with his vestments and icons, conferring a 
divine benediction upon the newly established order ; 
the tchinovnik and kindred symptoms of organised 
settlement ; the liquor-shop and its vodka, to expedite, 
even while debasing, the assimilative process; the 
official and tax collector, as the final stamp of Imperial 
Supremacy. Then when a few years, or sometimes 
only months, have gone by, imposing barracks rise, 




postal and telegraph offices are built, a railway is laid, 
colonists are invited, the old times are forgotten, and an 
air of drowsy quiescence settles down upon the spot 
that a decade before was scoured by predatory bands 
or precariously peopled by vagabond tribes. 

On the other hand, the Eussians have been aided 
wi in the work of pacification by qualities which, though 
discreditable to civilised peoples, are familiar by im- 
memorial usage as well as by national instinct to 
Oriental tribes. To an unrefined race such as the 
latter a want of refinement is not shocking. To 
peoples with whom lying is no disgrace (vide Ali- 
khanoff's description of the Turkomans, quoted in 
Chapter V.) untruthfulness presents no novelty. To 
a society trained in theft and dishonesty (vide 
ODonovan's c Merv Oasis/ passim) corruption is no 
crime. The conquest of Central Asia is a conquest 
of Orientals by Orientals, of cognate character by 
cognate character. It is the fusing of strong with 
weaker metal, but it is not the expulsion of an im- 
pure by a purer element. Civilised Europe has not 
marched forth to vanquish barbarian Asia. This is 
no nineteenth- century crusade of manners or morals ; 
but barbarian Asia, after a sojourn in civilised 
Europe, returns upon its former* footsteps to reclaim 
its own kith and kin. Assimilation is less remarkable 
when rulers are severed from subjects by a gap of but 
a few centuries, and when no impassable chasm of 
intellect or character intervenes. A system backward 
in Europe is forward in Central Asia ; stagnation here 
is dizzy progress there ; and coarser agencies are 


better fitted for the work of redemption than a more 
polished instrument. 

No more striking illustration of the policy of Attitude 
laissez-faire, of which I have spoken, can be given 
than the attitude which Eussia has throughout 
adopted towards those institutions which are com- 
monly the rally ing-ground of prejudice and supersti- 
tion among Mahometans, namely, the religion and the 
education of the native peoples. The former she has 
absolutely left alone. The Mullahs have been allowed 
to teach and preach the Koran ; the dervishes alone 
have been restrained in their fanatical importunities ; 
mosques have even, in some cases, been repaired by 
Eussian means ; and at one time the Government 
actually went so far as to build mosques itself 
for the conciliation of the Kirghiz. No Eussian pro- 
paganda has been tolerated in Central Asia ; prose- 
lytism is tabooed ; and it is a curious but signifi- 
cant fact that we find Eussian writers boasting that 
their Church has never despatched a missionary to 
Central Asia nor made an Asiatic convert. Prom 
one point of view this policy has had the most satis- 
factory results ; for the bigotry, which persecution or 
even covert hostility might have sharpened, has sunk 
into an indifference which will pave the way to a 
more thorough political union. But how different is 
this system from that of the English Church, whose 
missionary activity is the wonder, if unfortunately it 
is not the redemption, of foreign lands, and which 
aspires to create converts almost before it has made 
citizens ! There is this broad difference between the 


problem which has confronted the two nations in 
Central Asia that the Eussians have so far come into 
contact with only one, and that a Monotheistic creed ; 
while the English have found themselves plunged 
into a weltering sea of Pagan superstition and blind 

Towards The contrast between the rival methods is nowhere 

cation more conspicuous than in the field of native education. 
If England has recognised a special and primary 
obligation in her dealings with conquered peoples it 
has always been in the education and development of 
the young. Indeed, her lavish distribution of the re- 
sources of culture and knowledge in India is the main 
cause of the difficulties with which her administra- 
tion is now confronted. Wisdom is justified of her 
children, and those who have caught the glamour of 
nineteenth-century learning are not content to sink 
back into the slough of primordial ignorance. The 
Russians have proceeded upon very different lines. 
The educational habits and institutions of their 
Mussulman subjects have been left untouched. The 
mektebs, or primary schools, and the medresses, or 
high schools, still communicate their straitened and 
stinted learning, their senseless lessons by rote, and 
their palsied philosophy, to thousands of Kussjan 
subjects, whom not an effort is made to lift on to 
a higher plane of intellectual development. The 
Government does not even supervise the collection 
or distribution of the vakufs, or religious endowments ; 
and large sums of money are annually left to the dis- 
cretion of unlettered Mullahs and priests. That a 


better era, however, is dawning, and that Russia is 
beginning to recognise her duties towards those with 
whose rule she is charged, may be gathered from the 
details which I quoted in an earlier chapter upon 

Such, broadly speaking, have been the means by Bravery 
which Russia has gained her position, and having ranee of 
gained it, has made it secure : namely, overwhelming character 
military superiority ; a resolute policy ; the gift of 
material advantages ; equable and tolerant adminis- 
tration ; personal popularity ; and a calculating pru- 
dence. Let me add thereto that, in the process, the 
conquerors have exhibited qualities of a very high 
order, commanding respect and admiration. The 
Russian soldier is perhaps the most faithful modern 
parallel to the Spartan. He would let the wolf tear at 
his vitals without uttering a groan. Endued with great 
hardihood and power of self-sacrifice, possessed of a 
blind but inspiring devotion to duty, he takes his orders 
silently and executes them promptly. The child of a 
Northern and Arctic clime, he serves without a murmur 
in fervid deserts and under excruciating suns. En- 
camped in the wilderness, he builds huts and houses 
that recall memories of home, and with singing and 
merriment he peoples the solitude with cheerful 
fancies. Above all, he is animated by a lofty pride of 
birth, and by an unfaltering faith in the destiny of his 
country. It is of such stuff that heroes and great 
nations alike are made, and by such hands that em- 
pires have commonly been built. 

Other considerations, however, there are which 


Military must also be taken into view. Apart from difficulties 

e&fteof . . i 

Radian arising from the nature and climate of the country, 
it cannot be contended that, in their career of 
Central Asian conquest, the Russians have been con- 
fronted with any very formidable obstacles. The 
only two critical military operations in which they 
have been engaged were the native attempt to recap- 
ture the citadel of Samarkand in 1868, after Kaufmann 
had marched away in pursuit of the JJokharan army, 
leaving only a small garrison behind ; and the siege 
of Geok Tepe. The former was a heroic perform- 
ance ; the latter was, to some extent, an artificial 
success ; for SkobelefTs one fear, based on a wide 
knowledge of Oriental adversaries, was lest the 
Turkomans should escape him by flight, before he 
could administer the necessary lesson. As it was, 
the siege reflected at least as much credit upon the 
Tekkes as it did upon the Russians ; for the former, 
with no guns, and only inferior rifles, exposed to a 
murderous artillery fire behind the worst possible 
defence in the world viz. a walled enclosure in a 
level plain, with higher ground in the possession of 
the enemy exhibited a gallantry beyond praise. The 
earlier fights with Kirghiz, Khokandians, and Bok- 
liariots were mostly ' walks over/ and must ordinarily 
have degenerated into a rout almost from the start, 
if the ludicrous disproportion of slain, returned in 
the Russian official reports of the engagements, be 
accepted as true. So far the Russians in their 
advance have not met one genuinely warlike people 
or fought one serious battle. Their prodigious pres- 


tige has had the effect of Joshua's trumpets before 
the walls of Jericho. No one knew this better than 
Skobeleff, who told an amusing story of the capture 
of lira Tope by Romanovski in 38G6. When the 
aksakals (grey-beards) of the town were brought 
before the Russian commander they kept asking : 
4 But where are the giants that breathed out fire ? ' 
Romanovski discreetly answered that he had sent 
the giants back to Russia, but would recall (hem at 
the first necessity. 

This is one among many contrasts between contrat 

_. . T i i " A T^II between 

Russian and British conquests in Asia. England Engiuh 
only won India after terrific battles, and only holds Rummm 

* ; facilities 

it by the allegiance of warlike peoples. Indeed, she 
is far safer in the masculine hands of Sikhs and 
Mahrattas and Rajputs, than among her tenderly 
reared nurseries of hot-house liabus. Great, however, 
as was the task set before England in comparison with 
Russia, in acquisition, still greater is the strain of 
retention. The English are thousands of miles from 
home, and are severed therefrom by continents and 
oceans. The Russians are still in Russia. From St. 
Petersburg to Tashkent, or from Odessa to Merv, a 
Russian never leaves Russian soil ; he is still in the 
fatherland, speaking the same language and observ- 
ing the same customs. The expansion of Russia is 
the natural growth of the parent stem, whose stately 
circumference swells larger and larger each year. 
The expansion of England is the throwing out of 
a majestic branch which exhausts and may even 
ultimately break off from the maternal trunk. Or, 


to adopt another metaphor, Russia, in unrolling the 
skein of her destiny, keeps one end of it fast held in 
her own hand, and is in unbroken connection with 
the other extremity. England has divided her skein 
into a multitude of threads, and has scattered them 
broadcast over the globe. In Central Asia the 
Russians are residents as well as rulers. In India 
the English are a relief band of occupants, lease- 
holders of a twenty years' term, yearning for the 
expiration of their contract, and for the ship that 
will bear them home. In Turkestan and Transcaspia 
Russians are more obvious to the naked eye than are 
their subjects, and, as 1 have said, Russian soldiers are 
far more obvious than Russian civilians. In India 
the English are swallowed up in a mighty ocean of 
humanity. You may travel for days, if at any dis- 
tance from the railway, and never catch sight of a 
white man ; and your ram avis when you find him 
will not have scarlet plumage. 

A further contrast is presented by the relative 
r!tyof u security or insecurity of the two dominions. Many 
and different enemies have it in their power to wreak 
mischief upon India. With an extensive and for the 
most part defenceless seaboard, she is exposed to 
hostile navies. Her commerce finds a huadred 
different outlets, not. one of which is safe from attack. 
Upon the north and north-west she is galled and 
worried by the stings of fanatical tribes. Russia 
alone can drive her into a ferment by moving a 
single sotnia of Cossacks a few furlongs. On the 
other hand, the Russian Empire in Central Asia is irn- 


pregnable. Every avenue of approach is in her own 
hands ; there is no enemy at her gates. No Armada 
can threaten where there are no seas ; no hostile 
army can operate at such a gigantic distance from its 
base. England can do her no positive injury. Her 
commerce is overland and cannot bo touched ; her 
communications arc secure and cannot be severed. 
We have no interest in further advance. Our hands 
are full. Russia is growing and spreading, is head- 
strong and young ; and rash fingers are never want- 
ing to beckon her on. Aggression may be sense for 
her ; it is folly for us. The utmost we hope for is 
to arrest her before the Rubicon of our honour is 
reached; the least we desire is to provoke her to 
plunge into the stream. 

I have indicated the brighter and redeeming fea- Searay<ie 
tures of Russian civilisation in Central Asia. There civilisation 
is a seamy side as well. Drunkenness and gambling 
and prostitution have followed, as is their habit, in 
the wake of Western morals and culture. At so 
great a distance from headquarters, and where the 
only avenue of distinction is presented by the public 
service, there is great jealousy and constant intrigue 
among officers and functionaries. Independence en- 
courages self-seeking and arrogance, and there are 
plenty of hands ready to pull the successful performer 
down. Every prominent actor in Central Asian 
politics has a host of enemies, and is fought about 
like a theological dogma by opposite schools. General 
Annenkoff, for instance, is upheld by a clientele of 
staunch partisans, but is not less sturdily denounced 


by an opposition clique. For a time one of the hos- 
tile camp, General Bazoff by name, was placed in 
managing control of the earlier section of the Trans- 
Caspian Railway. The result was incessant squabbling 
between the two men ; and to such a pitch was the 
ill-feeling carried that, at the opening ceremonies, 
when the rails had been temporarily washed away by 
a torrent near Kizil Arvat, Bazoff did all in his power 
to incommode and retard the progress of AnnenkoflTs 
guests. M. de Cholet also relates that in the frontier 
districts, at a distance from the central authority, 
peculation and corruption are rife. The Pristavs, or 
chiefs of centres, defraud the Government by appro- 
priating part of the taxes, detection being difficult in 
the absence of a regular census. 1 

Bad roods In the humbler details of local administration, in 
such matters as roads, means of communication, and 
the like the very province in which the English 
excel the Eussians are incurably languid and idle. 
The roads of Central Asia, even the postal roads 
and main lines of connection, have long been famous 
for their execrable badness. Skobeleff, in a letter 
in 1877, on his way from Central Asia to take part 
in the Turkish war, wrote that, ' if known to Dante, 
the Central Asian roads would have served as, an 
additional horror to hell/ And yet, dating his letter 
from Kazalinsk, he was travelling upon and was 
speaking of the main postal route from Tashkent to 
Orenburg. Samarkand, Tashkent, and Askabad were 
the only places where I saw tolerable roads. Else- 
1 Voyage en Turkestan, p. 103. 


where they are merely cart-tracks, unmetalled, full 
of ruts and holes, and deeply buried in dust. Upon 
the Afghan frontier there are practically no roads at 
all ; though it is approached by two, of Bussian con- 
struction, from Karibent to Sarakhs, arid from Mcrv 
to Takhta-Bazar. 

The information which I have given about Russian General 

. . cpnclu- 

policy in the wider spheres of education, manners, re- Bionaast 

* m t J l Russian 

ligion, and morals, will have prepared my readers govern- 
for the conclusion that, while the Russian system may 
fairly be described as one of government, it cannot be 
described as one, to any considerable extent, of im- 
provement or of civilisation. There seems to be 
altogether lacking that moral impulse which induces 
unselfish or Christian exertioii en behalf of a subject 
people. Broad and statesmanlike schemes fb v the 
material development of the country, for the ameliora- 
tion of the condition of the natives, for their adap- 
tation to a higher order of things, are either not 
entertained, or are crushed out of existence* by the 
superior exigencies of a military regime. Barracks, 
forts, military roads, railway stations, post and tele- 
graph offices, the necessary adjuncts of government, 
abound ; but the institutions or buildings that bespeak 
a people's progress have yet to appear. Hence while 
there may exist the tranquillity arising from peace- 
ful and conciliatory combination, there is not the 
harmony that can result only from final coalescence. 
It is, of course, true, as I have frequently reminded 
my readers, that Russia has only too recently entered 
into possession for any very marked results to be as 

D D 


yet visible ; while the opportunities afforded among a 
nomad or agricultural people, where there are few cities 
and no national life, are necessarily small. Enough 
has been done in the matter of pacification and con- 
solidation to excite our respect. But in Turkestan a 
twenty years' tilth and seed time might be expected to 
have produced a more bountiful harvest ; and the 
doubt is suggested whether the Russians, though they 
may have the ability to conquer and the strength to 
keep, have the genius to build a new fabric out of 
old materials. 
Schemes Attention must, however, in all fairness, be drawn 

ation of to the schemes of improvement now in course of ex- 
he country . . .. , 
ecution, or of attempted execufaon O^H *- , v iiicn 

casual reference has ^ AC ^ lan once been made. 
These ineV - 1 - ^ngation, plantation, and colonisation 
*- a large scale. But in each case it must be pre- 
mised that the plans exist, so far, in greater complete- 
ness upon paper than anywhere else ; and, accord- 
ingly, the account I give of them represents their 
genesis in the brain of the reformer, rather than 
their positive realisation in fact. Later travellers 
may perhaps report the successful filling in of the 
somewhat grandiose outlines. 

irrigation I have described the schemes in course of execution 
for the improved irrigation of the Merv oasis ; and*have 
indicated how, by amore scientific economyof the exist- 
ing water-supply, by the construction of reservoirs in 
the Persian mountains to store asudden and unpremedi- 
tated rainfall, as well as of conduits and watercourses 
to conduct it to th* rVkina fit* r^seg of Akhal and Atek 


may be expected to enlarge their cultivable area. 
More ambitious schemes have, however, been talked 
about. The project has been mooted of uniting the 
streams of the Murghab arid the Tejend, and even 
of utilising their surplus resources in order to reclaim 
a portion of the Kara Kum. Those, however, who 
are best acquainted with the country, and speak from 
a practical knowledge of engineering, deny the feasi- 
bility of such a consummation, for the simple reason 
that the surplus postulated does not exist. In sum- 
mer the river-beds are sometimes quite dry; and 
although water is undoubtedly wasted by the clumsy 
methods of the Turkomans, yet sufficient cannot be 
spared to undertake reclamation beyond the existing 
limits of the oases ; and as the population increases, 
which, under pacific rule, it rapidly will, every avail- 
able drop will be required upon the spot. Moreover, 
the diversion of water into new channels through so 
inveterate a wilderness is apt to turn out a very 
disappointing enterprise, owing to the rapid atmo- 
spheric evaporation, and to the thirsty appetite of 
the sands. 

Much the same objection exists, but on a far 
larger scale, to the schemes, of which a great deal omto 
was heard at one time, for a restoration of the Oxus lts 
to its old bed, diverging from the present main 
stream in the neighbourhood of Khiva towards the 
Sary Kamish lakes in the Ust Urt desert, 1 and thence . 

1 Above the Sary Kamish lakes there are no less thatf four old 
beds of the Oxus : (1) the oldest, or Unguz, beginning eighty miles 
below Tcharjui, and running parallel with the modern Amu Daria to 

D D2 


by the dried-up Uzboi bed, to the Igdi wells and the 
Balkan Bay in the Caspian. This idea is as old as 
the time of Peter the Great, who sent an envoy to ex- 
amine the former channel, and to report upon the 
feasibility of the project, with a view to opening up a 
new waterway into the heart of Asia. The construc- 
tion of the Transcaspian Railway has to a great ex- 
tent obviated the present necessity for such an under- 
taking ; while exhaustive scientific surveys have simul- 
taneously demonstrated its practical infeasibility, or, 
at any rate, the uuremunerative outlay of the experi- 
ment, llerr Kiepert's famous and scornful criticism 
of the project, when at the height of its favour, as 
* (he great Central Asian Sea-serpent,' though bitterly 
resented at the time, has apparently survived to wit- 
ness its own justification. The difference of levels 
between the Sary Kainish lakes and the Caspian is so 
great that it is calculated that forty years would be 
spent in filling the former before the idea could be 
entertained of taking the overflow into the Caspian. 
General Gloukhovskoe himself, who is understood to 
be favourable to the scheme, has estimated the cost 

Fort KabaMi, and thence westwards to the Sheikh wells ; (2) a channel 
leaving the Amu Daria near Khazarasp, passing by Khiva and running 
to the wells of Charishli on the Uzboi ; variously known throughout 
ita length as Zeikyash, Yaman Kagikyal, and Tonu or Sonu Daria ; 
(3) the Doudan, starting a little to the east of the town of Khanki, and 
running by the hill of Man Kir and through the lakes of Tunukla to the 
south-east corner of the Sary Kamish lakes ; (4) the Darialik, beginning 
five miles west of Kunia Urgenj, and falling into the Sary Kamish lakes 
at their north-east corner. Vide Grodekoff's War in TurJcomania, 
vol. i. chap. i. Colonel Petrusevitch, who surveyed the last-named bed, 
demonstrated the possibility of utilising it as far as the Sary Kamish 
lakes, water having flowed through it thus far, when the Amu Daria 
burst its banks in 1878. 


of its undertaking at four millions sterling. A further 
danger is the desiccation that might be entailed upon 
Khiva and the Amu Daria province on the right hank 
of the river, one of the most fertile portions of the 
Eussian dominions. It is improbable, therefore, un- 
less the Oxus repeats its penunbulatory humours of 
the past, which it shows no immediate likelihood of 
doing, that any artificial attempt to alter its direction 
will be made in our time. 

Plantation has been resorted to in many parts, as Cotton 

. . . . plan tut ion 

allusions in previous chapters have shown, in the in- 
terest both of improved fertilisation of the soil, and 
an increase of moisture in the climate. The branch 
of industry, however, from which Eussia, with pro- 
bable justice, expects the greatest return, is that of 
cotton plantation, which, after a long apathy, is (if 
official reports are to be relied upon) being vigor- 
ously pursued both on the banks of the Amu Daria 
and in Turkestan. American seed has been imported 
into the country ; American scientific methods and 
appliances have been studied ; and in observance of 
the commercial policy which I have more than 
once sketched, an American company that applied 
for a concession met with a peremptory refusal, the 
Eussians intending to keep an absolute monopoly 
of the industry, both growth and export, in their own 
hands. General Annenkoff, in the paper on the 
Commercial Importance of the Transcaspiari Eailway, 
from which I have before quoted, gave the figures of 
the present produce of cotton in Central Asia as 
follows : 


Bokhara 2,000,000 ponds l 

Khiva 500,000 

Khokand 800,000 

Amu Daria .... 500,000 

Total . . . 3,300,000 

and those of the exports of cotton vid Orenburg before 
the construction of the railway as 

1888 603,000 pouds 

1884 626,000 

1885 668,000 

The book which he is understood to be about to publish 
upon the railway will no doubt contain more recent 
statistics. . So far the fertility of the Central Asian 
cotton-seed has not been developed to anything like 
the same extent as its American rival. One poud(36 
Ibs.) of the former in its impure state yields only 9 Ibs. 
of pure material ; while the corresponding amount of 
American seed produces 15 Ibs. One desiatine (i.e. 2^ 
acres) of land in Central Asia will give from 12 to 14 
pouds of pure cotton ; the same area in America will 
give from 22 to 30. The present annual requirements 
of Russia are stated at about 8,000,000 pouds of cotton, 
which she imports from Egypt, India, and America, 
at an average price of 11 roubles (22s.) a poud. 
General Annenkoff, as I have previously mentioned, 
claims to be able to offer his railroad-borne cotton 
from Central Asia in the market of Moscow at 6^ 
roubles a poud. With the united supply of Merv, 
Bokhara, Ferghana, and Khokand, Eussia expects to 
be entirely self-supporting in another decade. 

Of the rapid extension of the industry in Central 

1 1 pond = 86 English Ibs. ; 62 ponds = 1 ton. 


Asia, the following figures will give some idea. In 
1884, only 750 acres in Turkestan were devoted to 
the plantation of American cotton. In 1886 the area 
was 30,000 acres, and for the first time an annual 
meeting of planters was held at Tashkent. In 1886 
the export from Central Asia, mainly by the Trans- 
Caspian Railway, though at that time carried no fur- 
ther than Merv, was 55,000 bales of 100 kilogrammes 
(220 Ibs.) each. In 1887 the total was reckoned 
at 120,000-200,000 such bales; in 1888 the area 
under cultivation was 87,500 acres in Turkestan, 
and the total export was 521,000 bales, made up as 
follows : 


122,000 bales 
. 57,000 
. 81,000 


. 81,000 

From the latest report (for 1888) of the trade 
of St. Petersburg and Consular District, I derive the 
following : 

The consumption in Russia of cotton grown in Bokhara, 
Khiva, and Khokand is steadily increasing ; although as at 
present produced, the great bulk of these cottons is not suit- 
able for spinning the finer number of yarn most in demand. 
The staple, as a rule, is both short and irregular, the fibre 
rather dry and weak, and the cotton imperfectly cleaned. 1 

Among other industries pursued or attempted on a sericulture 
considerable scale, and susceptible of great expan- culture 

1 No, 564 of the Annual Series of Foreign Office Reports, 1889. 


sion, in the Central Asian dominions of Russia, are 
the production of silk and of wine, and the growth of 
lire. Out of 800,000*. worth of raw silk, and 200,OOOJ. 
worth of spun silk, annually consumed by Russia, 
only from 30,00(W. to 60,000/. worth come from 
Central Asia ; and there is therefore an excellent 
opening for enlarged production. During the last 
few years, however, the industry, owing to the wide- 
spread existence of disease among the silkworms, has 
been on the decline; the returns of the market of 
Khojent showing a fall from 30,000 ponds of cocoons 
sold in 1885 for 30,0001., to 4,000 pouds sold in 1888 
for 5,OOOJ. Establishments have been founded for the 
examination of the eggs, with a view to the eradica- 
tion of the disease; and fresh supplies of eggs are 
now being imported from other silk-growing countries. 
The culture of the vine is largely practised, under the 
most favourable conditions of soil and climate, by the 
natives, who manufacture a very superior beverage. 
With due care and with improved methods, Turkestan 
may be made to supply the entire needs in this respect 
of Siberia, as well as of Central Asia. Of rice, though 
a great deal is grown, none has till lately been ex- 
ported to European Kussia. But the Transcaspian 
Railway will HOW encourage the growth by facilitating 
the exportation. 

Lastly I come to the Russian projects of colonisa- 
tion, which again look exceedingly well on paper, but 
as regards fulfilment are as yet very much in the air. 
The banks of the Amu Daria and the Oasis of Merv 
are the regions to which the emigrant is specially 


invited ; and quite recently General Annenkoff, in a 
lecture before the Imperial Geographical Society of 
St. Petersburg, drew a pretty comparison between 
the settlements on the Yellow China Eiver, and the 
future Eussian colonies on the Oxus. There is this 
fundamental difference between the two, that the 
Chinese colonists are Chinamen, while the Eussian 
colonists are to be Eussian, or, in other words, that the 
one are indigenous, while the others will be aliens. It 
cannot be said that the Eussians have anywhere in Asia 
as yet attained much success as colonists. In the 
Syr Daria district they commenced the experiment in 
1875 of the free settling of peasants, the planting of 
Crown colonies at fixed points having already proved 
a complete failure. A few villages were founded in 
the ensuing years ; but until 1884 the progress was 
very slow. In 1885 there were reported to be eight 
peasant settlements, and four colonies of German 
Memnonites, with 514 families, and about 2,500 
persons. In 1886 six more Eussian villages were 
established, with 324 families, extending over the 
two neighbouring districts. These are the latest 
procurable figures. 

The very taste for nomad life which their constant 
migrations have shown really disqualifies the Eussians 
for the sedentary and laborious existence of the settler. 
Whole communities will roam away from home upon 
the slightest pretext, or upon the breath of some faint 
rumour touching the rich gardens of Turkestan or 
the prolific harvests of Merv. A story is related of 
a well-to-do colonist who wandered south from Siberia, 


abandoning an excellent farm, simply because he had 
heard that a certain weed, by which his holding was 
troubled, ceased to grow beyond a particular limit. 
The Government of the Steppe to the north-east of 
Turkestan, and more especially the province of Semi- 
rechinsk, or the Land of the Seven Streams, have 
hitherto been the chief scene of Eussian colonisation. 
In the latter, where the process commenced in 1854, 
there are said to be over 80,000 colonists. But the 
emigrants, who were mainly Cossacks of rude habits 
and unsettled life (the Eussian Minister of Agriculture 
described them in a report as a coarse and almost 
savage band, addicted to idleness, intoxication, theft, 
and vice), or peasants from Siberia, driven southwards 
by the cold, appear to have been thoroughly unsatis- 
factory ; while Chinese competition from the neighbour- 
ing province of Hi and from Chinese Turkestan, par- 
ticularly that of the Dungans or Chinese Mahometans, 
and Taranchis or Turki Mahometans, has proved a 
serious hindrance. The natives, who, like all China- 
men, consume less food and work for less wages than 
any other people in the world, lower the price of 
agricultural produce, and derive a further advantage 
from their intimate knowledge of the local systems of 
irrigation. Disgust overtakes the discomfited Euro- 
pean ; he packs up his goods and chattels, and be- 
comes a vagrant once more. Further east, in the 
Russian province of Manchuria along the Amoor 
Eiver, Chinese competition has proved so formidable 
that the Government has felt called upon to interfere. 
In the Pri-Amoorski district there were reported in 


1888 to be 40,000 Asiatic aliens ; in the Ussuri dis- 
trict 14,000. The Eussian Governor-General in his 
last report included these words : " The Manchurians 
form an element which is dangerous to the interests 
of our Eussian colonists, as by their intelligence, in- 
dustry, endurance, and frugality, competition of any 
foreign labour system whatever with theirs is pre- 
vented/ To restrict this influx and the consequent 
fall in prices, it was proposed that the Eussian Govern- 
ment should lay a special capitation or income tax 
upon all Chinese and Koreans in Eussian territory, 
and in the scheme of universal taxation should allow 
an exemption to naturalised Eussian subjects and 
Eussian traders. 

These incidents will show that Eussian colonisa- 
tion in Central Asia is not such smooth sailing as 
might be expected; and that projects, however brave, 
may be widely removed from reality. General An- 
nenkoff in his lecture recommended the following 
steps as the prelude to more successful ventures : 
improved and extended irrigation ; the circulation of 
maps with spots adapted to settlement distinguished 
upon them ; the institution of model farms and agri- 
cultural schools in order to create a supply of com- 
petent managers and overseers ; and the collection of 
models of appliances used in America for the cultiva- 
tion of cotton. Nevertheless there do not exist in 
Central Asia the insuperable obstacles of climate and 
surroundings that have rendered British colonies in 
India an impossibility, and have thereby deprived the 
English of this most potent instrument of assimilation ; 


and the Amu Daria fringe may one day be peopled 
with untidy long-haired Moujiks, and dotted over 
with pine-log huts. 

Such, so far as I have been able to ascertain them, 1 

ofOreat . , . . 

Britain are Russia's position and prospects, her virtues and 
failings, in her recently acquired Central Asian 
dominions. Englishmen may regard her presence 
there with equanimity and watch her progress with 
friendly interest. They may compare her doings north 
of the Hindu Kush and Himalayas with their own to 
the south, and may perhaps derive some lessons, or 
imbibe some warnings from the contrast. They need 
grudge Russia none of her triumphs, nor be led, either 
by national jealousy or by possible antagonism in the 
future, into competition with her in a field which 
their own hands are too full to enter. Let no English- 
man be found repeating the infatuated nonsense that 
has sometimes found its way into print in magazine 
articles, about turning Russia out of Central Asia, or 
sweeping her from the Khanates. She is not to be 
evicted ; and of all peoples we are the last to supply 
the crowbar brigade. The limits to British dominions 
in Central Asia are fixed by natural conditions, which 
we should be insane to ignore or overleap, and 
which sever us, as by oceans, from Tartar prairies 
or Turkoman steppes. The inheritance of these 
lands, with their historic past, their sordid present, 

1 I have made repeated applications to Russian official quarters for 
further information, both in figures and in facts ; but entirely without 
success. If the Bussians are anywhere misrepresented or misunder- 
stood in foreign countries, it is commonly their own fault ; for they 
qtupidly refuse the sole means of correction or substantiation. 


and the mysterious possibilities of their future, has 
devolved upon a race yet young among nations, 
endowed with surpassing vitality, and destined to 
greatness. At least let us wish her God-speed in the 

Let it be borne in mind, however, and by none e B P n81 - 
more than the Russians themselves, that if the future Russia 
of these regions is in their own hands, upon their 
shoulders rests a proportionate responsibility. So far 
everything has been easy enough. Armies have col- 
lapsed ; the conquered have been pacified ; opposition 
has vanished ; order has been assured. The scarcely 
formulated ambitions of Peter the Great have been 
realised, and have been multiplied a, hundredfold in 
the process of realisation. A new continent lias been 
usurped, and a mighty empire has been won. But, 
as the Duke of Wellington remarked to Lord Auck- 
land in 1839, 'In Asia, where victories cease difficul- 
ties begin.' Demolition has been simple ; but a call 
for constructive ability is now made. Russia is re- 
quired to build a new edifice upon the old founda- 
tions, to lift a people from the sloth of centuries, 
and to teach them the worth of manhood. The in- 
veterate walkers in darkness have seen a great light. 
They are entitled to share the warmth of its illumina- 
tion. Means of regeneration exist in abundance. A 
railway built for purposes of war ought in proper 
hands to become a security for peace. A few crumb- 
ling Khanates alone rejnain as an expiring relic of the 
past, which, with all its pageantry and its horrors, is 
shrivelling up like a parchment scroll beneath the 


action of fire, and will only leave its charred remains 
as a memento for another generation. The field is 
clear, and no rival threatens. If Eussian brains can 
only estimate the sense of duty, or even of ulterior 
profit, at a little higher price than ephemeral vain- 
glory, and if Eussian hands can desist from flying 
at the least breath of suspicion to the hilts of their 
swords, there is no reason why a future of benefi- 
cence and even of splendour should not await the 
Central Asian dominions of the Czar. 




v , . a . ,. Distance in Versts 

Name of Station (two-thirds of a mile) 

1. Uzun Ada ...... 

2. Michaelovsk 26 

3. MollaKari 48 

4. Bala Ishein 82 

5. Aidin 112 

6. Pereval 127 

7. Akcha Kuma 143 

8. Kazanjik 174 

9. Uzun Su 190 

10. Ushak 213 

11. Kizil Arvat 243 

12. Kodj 270 

13. Bahmi 294 

14. Artchman 324 

15. Suntcha 343 

1C. Bacharden 354 

17. Kelata 381 

18. Geok Tepe 406 

19. Bezmein 428 

20. Askabad 448 

21. Gyaurs 480 

22. Aksu 497 


VT . A A ~ Distance in Versts 

Name of Station (two-thirds of a mile) 

23. Baba Durmaz 518 

24. Artik 536 

25. Kaakha 568 

26. Annan Sagait 586 

27. Dushak 607 

28. Takir 627 

29. Tejend 651 

30. GeokSeour 673 

31. Jujukli 698 

32. DortKuyu 723 

33. Karibata 746 

34. Merv 770 

35. Bairam All 796 

36. KurbanKala 813 

37. Keltchi 831 

38. Ravnina 853 

39. Uch Adji 872 

40. Peski 901 

41. Bepetek 931 

42. KaraulKuyu 954 

43. Barchani 976 

44. Tcharjui 989 

45. Amu Daria 998 

46. Farab 1,002 

47. Kadji Devlet 1,023 

48. Kara Kul 1,042 

49. Yakatat 1,066 

50. Murgak 1,084 

51. Bokhara 1,107 

52. Kuyu Mazar 1,131 

53. Kizil Tepe 1,147 

54. Malik 1,169 

55. Kermine 1,193 

,56. Ziadin 1,217 

57. Tugai Robat 1,242 

58. Katta Kurgan 1,269 

59. Nagornaya 1,293 

60. Juma 1,319 

61. Samarkand 1,343 



THK sources from which the following table has been compiled are 
scattered in a great number of works, aiid it may claim, I believe, 
to be the first published attempt of its kind. Where I have found 
conflicting computations of distance, an endeavour has been made 
to determine the more trustworthy estimate, though, in a country 
where routes are not clearly marked, and where space is measured, 
not by mile-posts, but by marches, absolute precision is scarcely to 
be procured. Where places are connected by rail, the distance has 
been reckoned by the line, and not by road. In the selection of 
cases for mention, any compiler must lay himself open to the charge 
of arbitrary choice. My object has been to give the figures of 
distance between such places as are likely to have an important 
bearing upon the future development of the Central Asian Question, 
more particularly such places as are on the main lines of Russian or 
British advance. I can certify, from my own experience, how 
seriously a student may be retarded in the effort to comprehend a 
strategical argument or position by the absence of such knowledge, 
and what a wonderful aid to understanding is the fortunate accident 

of its possession. 


Alexandretta to Grain (Persian Gulf) . . . 920 

Andkui to Balkh 100 

Bosaga (Oxus) 60 

Maimeiia ........ 80 

Maruchak '.180 

Askabad to Dushak '106 

Herat 368 

Khiva .280 

Kuchan 70 

Merv 215 

Meshed 168 

E K 



Askabad to Barakhs 198 

Astrabad to Bnjnurd 200 

Herat 557 

Kuchari 267 

Meshed 347 

Shahrud 60 

Balkh to Bamian 220 

Bosaga ......... 80 

Herat 370 

Kabul 330 

Kilif (Oxus) 50 

Bokhara to Balkh 276 

Karshi 86 

Khiva (by steppe) 280 

(vtd Tcharjui) 330 

Kilif 226 

Maimena* . . . . . . . . 350 

Samarkand . . . . . . . .150 

Tcharjui 70 

l)era Ghazi Khan to Quctta 295 

Dera Ismail Khan to Ghuzni (old Gomul Pass) . . . 250 

Kandahar 340 

Herat to Bamian 390 

Farrah 155 

Girishk 314 

Kabul (vld Daulatyar) 500 

Kandahar 389 

Quetta 533 

Hibi 630 

Kabul to Balkh 330 

Bamian . . . . . . . . .110 

Herat 500 

Jellalabad 100 

Kandahar 328 

Peshawur ........ 180 

Kandahar to Dera Ismail Khan (Indus) .... 340 

Herat 389 

Kabul 328 

Quetta ..144 

Kerki to Karshi 80 

Kilif '. .100 

Tcharjui ... 140 



Khiva to Askabad 280 

Fort Alexandrovsk (Caspian) 676 

Fort Perovski (Syr Daria) 306 

Jizak 472 

Kazalinsk (Syr Daria) 330 

Kindarli Bay (Caspian) 543 

,, Kizil Arvat . . . . . . . .315 

Krasnovodsk (by Sary Kainish Lakes) . . . 533 

Merv 350 

,, Orenburg (by steppe) ...... 866 

(vid Kazalinsk) 996 

Kizil Arvat to Ask ,1 bad . . . . . . .136 

Geok Tepe 108 

Tchikishliar 220 

Kohat to Kabul (vid Kuruui Valley) 212 

Krasnovodsk to Fort Alexandrovsk . . . . .412 

Khiva 533 

Tchikishliar 249 

Kuhsan to Herat ......... 65 

Sarakhs 147 

Kungrad to Mertvi Kultuk Bay (Caspian) .... 299 

Kurrachi to Chaman ........ 690 

Maimena to Andkui ........ 80 

Bala Murghab 100 

Merv to Herat .' 273 

Khiva 350 

Penjdeh 133 

Sarakhs 94 

Tcharjui 155 

Meshed to Askabad 168 

Herat 230 

Kuchan ........ 98 

Pul-i-Khatun 90 

Sarakhs 100 

Mohammerah (Karun River) to Ahwaz ..... 82 

Bizful 172 

Ispahan . . . .411 

Shustar . . . .136 

Teheran . . . . 621 

Orenburg to Bokhara (by steppe) . . . . . .1146 

(vid Tashkent and Samarkand) . . 1628 

Khiva (by steppe) '. 866 

E E 2 


Orenburg to Khiva (md Kazalinsk) ..... 996 

Kazalinsk (Syr Daria) ..... 667 

Samarkand ........ 1478 

,. Tashkent ........ 1291 

Penjdeh to Bala Murghab ....... 46 

Herat ......... 140 

Maruchak ........ 28 

Merv ......... 133 

Quetta to Dera Ghozi Khan (Indus) (vid llurnai) . . . 260 

. . . 295 

99 T) 

Herat 533 

Kandahar 144 

Sibi 100, 

llesht to Teheran 210 

Samarkand to Balkh 300 

Bokhara 150 

Kabul 630 

Karshi 113 

Tashkent 190 

Sarakhs to Kuhsan 147 

Herat 170 

Pul-i-Khatun 40 

Tashkent to Khojent 95 

Khokand 177 

Orenburg 1291 

Samarkand 190 

Tcharjui to Bokhara 80 

Kerki 140 

Khiva (by Oxus) 260 

Teheran to Astrabad . . 240 

Bushire 780 

Ispahan 280 

Meshed ' 550 

Shiraz . 600 

Uzun Ada to Askabad 300 

KizilArvat 162 

Merv 513 

Oxus 665 

Samarkand 895 




I HAVE compiled the following chronology, not without considerable 
research, from a wide variety of sources. So far as I know, there is 
only one other chronological table in existence relating to the same 
question, viz. that at the end of the first volume of Dr. Lansd ell's 
* Russian Central Asia/ Dr. Lansdell's list, however, being restricted 
to the record of Russian advance in Central Asia, contains no dates 
of Afghan or Persian history, nor any mention of the dealings of 
England and Russia with either of those countries. Neither in its 
own department is it perfect, being sometimes diffuse in recording 
facts of no moment, while it elsewhere omits relatively important 
incidents. My own compilation is no doubt susceptible of vast 
improvement, but, within its limits, aspires to be a fairly adequate 
record of English and Russian movements in the regions described 
in the foregoing volume as Central Asia ; dates connected with out- 
lying countries or history being only introduced here and there, 
where they are correlative to the main chain of events. The sub- 
joined list is brought up to the autumn of the present year, or a period 
five years later than Dr. Lansdell's catalogue. 

First British mission (of Captain Malcolm), and treaty with 

Persia 1800 

Proposed invasion of India by the Emperors Paul and 

Napoleon ,1800 

The Turkomans of Mangishlak appeal to be made Russian 

subjects, but subsequently revolt .... 1800 

War between Russia and Persia 1802-6 

Accession of Mohammed Rahim Khan of Khiva . . . 1806 
Scheme of Indian invasion by the Emperors, Alexander and 

Napoleon 1807 

First treaty between France and Persia .... 1807 
Second and abortive mission of Malcolm to Persia . . 1808 


Hecond treaty between Great Britain and Persia . . March 1809 
Russian administration introduced into the Kirghiz steppes . 1812 
Treaty of Gulistan between Russia and Persia (by which 
Russia gained Jiiicritia, Mingrelia, Daghestan, Kara- 
hagh, Derbent, Baku, Shirvan, and Ganjeh) . Oct. 1813 
Treaty of Teheran between Great Britain and Persia . Nov. 1814 
Mission of Ponoinari-fF to the Turkomans . . . .1819 

Visit of Mouravieff to Khiva 1819 

Mission of M. de Negri to Bokhara 1821 

Surveys of the East Caspian by Mou ravieff . . . .1821 
First Russian caravan to Bokhara ..... 1824 

Moorcroft and Trebeck \isit Bokhara, and die on their return 

through \fghan Turkestan 1825 

Accession of Nasrullah, Amir of Bokhara .... 1826 

Allah Kuli Khmi of Khiva .... 1826 

Dost Mohammed, Amir of Afghanistan . . 1826 

Mission of Menzikolf to Teheran 1826 

Wnr renewed between Russia and Persia . . . 1826-8 

Krivan captured by Paskievitch ..... Oct. 1827 
Treaty of Turkomanchai between Russia and Persia (by 

which Russia gained Erivan and Nakhchivan) . Feb. 1828 
Treaty of Adrianople between Russia and Turkey (by which 

Russia gained Poti, etc.) 1829 

Captain A. Conolly's overland journey to India . . . 1829 
Tekke Turkomans appear in the Merv country . . circ. 1830 
Dr. Wolffs first journey to Merv and Bokhara . . . 1831 
Lieutenant A\ Burnes* journey to Kabul, Bokhara, Merv, 

and Meshed 1832 

Unsuccessful Persian expedition against Herat . . . 1833 
Death of Futteh AH and accession of Mohammed Shah in 

Persia 1834 

Fort Novo-Alexandrovsk established by Perovski on eastern 

shore of the Caspian ....... 1834 

Russian mission of Denmison to Bokhara .... 1834 

Vitkievitch . . . .1835 

Trading expeditions of Karelin and Blaramherg to the Turko- 
mans .......... 1836 

Persia, instigated by Russia, marches against Herat . . 1837 
Siege of Herat and defence by Eld red Pottinger 

Nov. 1837 to June 1838 

Mission of Burnes to Kabul Sept. 1837 

Russian agent Vitkievitch at Kabul .... Dec. 1837 


Stoddart sent as British envoy from Teheran to Bokhara . 1838 
Wood explores the Upper Oxus to Lake Sir-i-kul . . . 1838 
British occupation of Karrack ...... 1838 

Treaty between England and Shah Suja . . . June 1838 

Beginning of first Afghan war Nov. 1838 

Unsuccessful expedition of Perovski against Khiva . . 1839 
Capture of Kandahar ....... April 1839 

Capture of Kabul, flight of Dost Mohammed, and restoration 

of Shah Suja Aug. 1839 

First British expedition into Kelat .... Nov. 1839 

Rising of Dost Mohammed ...... Sept. 1840 

Defeat and surrender of Dost Mohammed , . . Nov. 1840 
Mission of Abbott, Shakespear, and Conolly to Khiva . . 1840 
Mission of Bouteneft', Khanikoff, and Lehman ri to Bokhara . 1841 
Mission of Conolly to Khokaml . . . . . .1841 

First treaty between Great Britain and Kelat . . . 1841 
Treaty between Great Britain and Persia . . . .1841 

Naval station of Ashurada occupied by Russia . . . 1841 
Assassiiiatioii of Sir A. Burnes at Kabul . . . Nov. 1841 
Murder of Sir W. Macnaghten at Kabul . . . Dec. 1841 
Siege of British forces in Kabul . . Dec. 1841 to Jan. 1842 

Retreat and massacre of British army .... Jan. 1842 

Arrival of Lord Ellenborough in India . . . Feb. 1842 

Advance of British relief column under Gen. Pollock . April 1842 
Execution of Stoddart and Conolly at Bokhara . . June 1842 
March of Gen. Nott from Kandahar to Kabul Aug. to Sept. 1842 
General Pollock re-enters Kabul ..... Sept. 1842 

Evacuation of Afghanistan ...... Oct. 1842 

Dost Mohammed restored to throne 1842 

First treaty (concluded by Danilevski) between Russia and 

Khiva 1842 

Second journey of Dr. Wolff to Bokhara .... 1843 
Visit of Taylour- Thomson to Merv and Khiva . . . 1843 
Anglo-Russian agreement between the Emperor Nicholas 

and Lord Aberdeen ....... 1844 

Accession of Khudayar Khan of Khokand . . . .1844 

Submission of Great Horde of Kirghiz ..... 1844 

Abandonment of Fort Novo-Alexandrovsk in favour of Fort 

Novo-Petrovsk (afterwards in 1857 christened Fort 

Alexandrovsk) 1846 

Treaty of Erzeroum between Turkey and Persia . . .1847 
First Russian fort built at Aralsk, on the Aral Sea . 1848 


Commencement of the Aral flotilla ..... 1848 
Accession of Nasr-ed-din, Shah of Persia . . . Sept. 1848 
Fort No. 1, or Kazala, built on the Syr Daria . . . 1849 
Convention between Great Britain and Persia . . .1851 
Reconnaissance by Blaramberg against Ak Musjid . . 1852 
Ak Musjid, on Syr Daria, captured by the Russians and made 

FortPerovski 1853 

Anglo-Persian convention concerning Herat . . . 1853 

The Russians establish a military station at Fort Verny . 1854 
Second treaty between Great Britain and Kelat . . . 1854 
First treaty between Great Britain and Dost Mohammed 

March 1855 

Surrender of Herat to the Persians .... Oct. 1856 
Second treaty between Great Britain and Dost Mohammed 

Jan. 1857 

War between Great Britain and Persia Nov. 1856 to March 1857 
Treaty of Paris between Great Britain and Persia . March 1857 
Accession of Khudadad Khan of Kelat .... 1857 

Tekke Turkomans expel Sariks and occupy Merv . . . 1857 

Indian Mutiny . 1857-8 

Mission of Ignatieff to Khiva and Bokhara .... 1858 

Russian mission of KhanikofF to Herat .... 1858 

Expedition of Dandevil against the Turkomans . . . 1859 
Government of India transferred from the East India Com- 
pany to the Crown ....... 1859 

Accession of Mozaffur-ed-din, Amir of Bokhara . . . 1860 
Treaty of Pekin between Russia and China .... 1860 

The Russians recommence military operations in Central 

Asia 1860 

ifereian expedition against Merv repulsed by the Tekkes . 1861 

Death of Dost Mohammed June 1863 

Voyage of A. VamWry to Khiva, Bokhara, and Samarkand . 1863 
Ovorlund telegraphic convention between England, Turkey, 

and Persia 1863 

Capture of Aulieata and Hazret by the Russians . . July 1864 
Storming of Tchitnkent by Tchernaieff -. . . . Oct. 1864 

Circular of Prince Gortchakoff Nov. 1864 

Accession of Seid Mohammed Rahim Khan of Khiva . . 1865 
Formation of Turkestan province .... Feb. 1865 

Storming of Tashkent by Tchernaieff .... June 1865 

Yakub Beg captures Kashgar 1865 

Tchernaieff replaced by Romanovski 1866 


Defeat of Bokharan army at Irjar .... May 1866 

Capture of Khojent (May), Ura Tepe, and Jizak . . Oct. 1866 
Yakub Beg captures Yarkand ...... 1866 

Formation of Government of Turkestan under Kaufmann Sept. 1 867 
Capture of Samarkand . ...... May 1868 

Final defeat of Bokharan army . . . . . June 1 868 

Annexation of Zerafshan province by Russia . . Nov. 1868 
First treaty between Russia and Bokhara . 1868 

Civil war in Afghanistan ...,<. 1863-8 

Final triumph of Shir AH Khan Jan. 1869 

Flight of Abdurrahman Khan to Samarkand . . . 1869 
Umballa Conference between Lord Mayo and Shir Ali. March 1K69 
First overtures from Lord Clarendon to Prince GortchakofF 

about Afghanistan ....... 1869 

Occupation of Krasnovodsk, on the east shore of the Caspian, 

by Stolietoff Nov. 1869 

Karshi and Shahri Sebz restored by Russia to Bokhara . 1870 
Occupation of Michaelovsk and Molla Kari by the Russians 1870 
First expedition against the Turkomans to Kizil Arvat . 1870 
Occupation of Kulja by the Russians .... July 1871 
Reconnaissances of Markozoff to Sary Kamish Lakes and on 

the Atrek 1871 

Russian fort erected at Tchikishliar . . . . .1871 
Second Russian reconnaissance to Kizil Arvat and Bahmi . 1872 
Gortchakoff-Graiiville Agreement as to boundaries of Afghan- 
istan Oct. 1872 

Captain Marsh's ride through Khorasan .... 1872 

Seistaii Boundary Commission ...... 1872 

Persian Railway Concession to Baron de Reuter . . .1872 
Russian treaty with Yakub Beg and recognition of independ- 
ence of Kashgar ....... 1872 

Russian expedition against Khiva ..... 1873 

Capture of Khiva May 1873 

Annexation of Amu-Daria province by Russia . . Aug. 1873 
Treaty between Russia and Khiva . . . . ,,1873 
Fortress of Koushid Khan Kala begun by the Merv Tekkes . 1873 
Second treaty between Russia and Bokhara . . . Oct. 1873 
First visit of the Shah to Europe, April to September . . 1873 
Journey of Colonel Valentine Baker in Turkomania and 

Khorasan 1873 

Formation of military district of Transcaspia sub General 

Lomakin April 1874 


Journey of Col. Ch. MacGregor in Khorasan . . . 1875- 

Capt. Burnaby'g ride to Khiva 1875 

Rebellion in Khokand 1875 

Nur Verdi elected Khan of Akhal 1875 

Annexation of Khokand and formation of Russian province 

of Ferghana Feb. 1876 

Expedition of Prjevalski to Lob Nor 1876 

Treaty of Jacobabad between Great Britain and Kelat. Dec. 1876 
Third Russian expedition to, and retreat from, Kizil Arvat . 1877 

Defeat and death of Yakub Beg 1877 

Abortive conference at Peshawur between Sir L. Pelly and 

Nur Mahomet Shah Feb. 1877 

Death of Koushid Khan of Merv, and election of Nur Verdi 

Khan of Akhal 1878 

Kaufiuanu threatens invasion of Afghanistan and India June 1878 
Pamir column despatched under General Abramoff . 1878 
Arrival of Stolietoft' mission at Kabul .... July 1878 
Russian fort built at Chat, on the Atrek . . . Aug. 1878 
Second visit of the Shah to Europe ..... 1878 
British envoy turned back from Khyber Pass . . Sept. 1878 
Colonel GrodekofFs ride from Samarkand to Herat 

Oct. to Nov. 1878 
Second Afghan war begun . ..... Nov. 1878 

Flight of Shir AH Dec. 1878 

Death of Shir Ali and accession of Yakub Khan . . Feb. 1879 
Treaty of Gundamuk with Yakub Khan . . . May 1879 
Assassination, of Sir L. Cavagnari at Kabul . . . Sept. 1879 

Third Afghan war begun 1879 

Defeat of Lomakin by the Turkomans 187$ 

Reoecupation of Kabul Oct. 1879 

Yakub Khan deported to India Dec, 1879 

Skoboleff appointed Commander-in-Chief in Transcaspia Mar. 1880 
Death of Nur Verdi Khan of Akhal and Merv, and election 

of Makdum Kuli Khan May 1880 

Skobeleff lands at Krasnovodsk 1880 

Bah mi occupied ........ June 1880 

Recognition of Abdurrahman Khan as Amir . . July 1880 

Disaster of Mai wand 1880 

March of Sir F. Roberts from Kabul to Kandahar. Aug. 8-31, 1880 

Battle of Kandahar Sept. 1, 1880 

First reconnaissance of Geok Tepe .... July 1880 
Commencement of the Traiiscaspiau Railway . . . 1880 


Colonel Stewart on the Turkoman frontier .... 1880 
Storming of Geok Tepe by Skobeleff .... Jan. 1881 
Occupation of Askabad ....... 1881 

O'Donovan at Merv Mar. to July 1881 

Evacuation of Kandahar April 1881 

Formation of Transcaspian Province sub General Rohrberg 

May 1881 

Annexation of Akhal-Tekke oasis . . . . ,,1881 

Transcaspian Railway opened to Kizil Arvat . . Dec. 1881 
Frontier convention between Russia and Persia . . ,,1881 
Visit of Alikhanoff in disguise to Merv. . . . Feb. 1882 

Surveys of Lessar 1882-1883 

Retrocession of Tli province and Kulja to China . . .1 882 
Quetta District handed over on a rent to the British . . 1882 
Formation of the Government of the Steppe. . . . 1882 
Tchernaieff appointed Governor-General of Turkestan . . 1882 
Completion of Traiiscaucasian Railway, Tiflis to Baku . . 1882 
Tiflis to Batoum . 1883 

Occupation by Russia of Tejend oasis .... Oct. 1883 
Quetta District ceded to Great Britain ..... 1883 
Shignan and Roshaii occupied by Abdurrahman Khan . . 1883 
Komaroff appointed Governor-General of Transcaspia . . 1883 
Annexation of Merv ....... Feb. 1884 

Occupation of Sarakhs April 1884 

Frontier negotiations between Great Britain and Russia . 1884 
Recommencement of Quetta Railway . . . . .1884 
Recall of Tchernaieff and appointment of Rosenbach . . 1884 
Sir P. Lumsden sent as British Boundary Commissioner. Oct. 1884 
The Russians occupy Pul-i-Khatun 1884 

The Russians occupy Zulfikar and Akrobat, and advance upon 

Penjdeh Feb. 1885 

Fight between the Russians and Afghans at Tash-Kepri, on 

the Kushk Mar. 30, 1885 

Rawul Pindi conference between Lord Dufferin and Abdurrah- 
man Khan April 1885 

War scare in Great Britain ....... 1885 

Sir P. Lumsden recalled May 1885 

Transcaspian Railway resumed ..... June 1885 

Accession of Seid Abdul Ahad, Amir of Bokhara . . Nov. 1885 
British and Russian Boundary Commissioners meet again 1885 
Annexation of Batoum . ....... 1886 

Bolan Railway constructed to Quetta 188G 


Demarcation of Afghan boundary up to separation of Com- 
mission Sept. 1886 

Return of British Commission through Kabul to India. Oct. 1886 

Occupation of Kerki by Russia May 1887 

Negotiations at St. Petersburg continued and concluded July 188T 
Final settlement and demarcation of Afghan frontier Winter 1887 
Surrender of Ayub Khan to the British, and detention in 

India 1887 

Quetta Railway continued to Kila Abdulla . . : Jan. 1888 
Tunnel commenced through the Amran Mountains . . 1888 
Transcaspiun Railway reaches Samarkand . . . May 1888 
Revolt of Is-hak Khan against Abdurrahman Khan 

July to Sept. 1888 

Retreat of Is-hak Khan to Samarkand 1888 

Karun River concession by Persia to England . . Oct. 1888 
Concession to Baron de Reuter for Imperial Bank of Persia 

Jan. 1889 

War scare on the Oxus boundary . . Feb. to Mar. 1889 

Convention between Russia and Persia . . . Mar. 1889 
Third visit of the Shah to Europe . . . May to Oct. 1889 




IN Chapter I. I have indicated the various direct routes to the 
Caucasus and the Caspian. A train leaves Batouin every morning 
and Tiflis every night for Baku, which is reached the next afternoon. 
The steamers of the Caucasus and Mercury Company sail for Uzun 
Ada twice a week, returning also twice a week. The distance, 
duration, and cost of journey from Uzun Ada to Samarkand I have 
mentioned in Chapter II. 

The most favourable seasons of the year for making a journey 
into Central Asia are the spring and autumn. In the summer tho 
climate is inordinately hot. In the winter it is icy cold ; tho rail- 
way may be blocked, and the harbours are frequently frozen. 

Accommodation in Transcaspia and Turkestan is scanty and 
miserable. There are so-called hotels at Askabad, Merv, and 
Samarkand, but they would be called hotels nowhere else. Travellers 
must take with them sheets, pillows, blankets, towels, and baths. 
They will find none in the country. It is possible, however, to 
sleep in the railway carriages, and where feasible they should always 
be preferred. 

Clothing must be taken adapted to both extremes of tempera- 
ture ; for it is often very hot in the daytime and very cold at night. 
For an Englishman a pith helmet, similar to those worn in India, is 
a useful protection, but does not seem to be affected by the Russians* 
The latter wear the universal flat white cap, with cotton crown. It 
can be bought at Tiflis, Baku, or anywhere in Russian territory, 
and is the most serviceable and least conspicuous headpiece that can 
be worn, the more so as the calico covering is removable and can be 
washed. Riding-breeches and boots are useful for extended journeys 
or hard work in the interior ; and to those unaccustomed to Cossack 
or native saddles an English saddle is a necessity. 

To Englishmen the language is a great stumbling-block. English 
is an extreme rarity in Transcaspia. French and German are not 


spoken except by Russian officers of the higher class. The languages 
required are Russian for use with the Russians, and Persian or 
Tartar (Turki) for the natives. It is well worth while picking up a 
little Russian beforehand in order to make oneself understood by 
the former. With the natives an interpreter or dragoman is simply 
indispensable ; and a man should be engaged at Tiflis or elsewhere 
who can show testimonials of ability to speak the languages, and of 
travelling experience in the countries to be traversed. 

The cost of travelling and living is absurdly cheap, and estimates 
framed on European standards may be halved. 

There is a native copper and silver currency at Bokhara. Every- 
where else, and at Bokhara also, the paper rouble is the staple 
imnlium of exchange. London bankers have no correspondents in 
Central Asia, but notes or letters of credit can be cashed at Tiflis, 
and Russian paper money is changeable everywhere. 

Along the railway very respectable food can be procured at the 
buffets. The same applies to the large towns. For any excursion 
or deviation from the beaten track a prior supply is a sine qud non, 
and no harm is done by laying in a stock of tinned meats, preserves, 
chocolate, <fec. at Tiflis or Baku. 

It is a cardinal rule to avoid the drinking water of the country. 
Passable wine from the Caucasus arid Samarkand is procurable. 
So is Russian beer. Excellent tea is always ready in the Samovars, 
which are the lares et penatea of the Russian in foreign lands, ac- 
companying him wherever he goes, and which are equally patronised 
by the natives. Air-cushions are invaluable for a tarantass journey. 
Wax candles are often a great blessing. Familiar precautions must 
be taken against small but familiar pests. 

It is useless to think of landing in Transcaspia without having 
procured an oktriti list, or special permit, authorised or signed by 
the Minister of War, which must be applied for at St. Petersburg. 
An ordinary passport must also be taken, as it is examined and 
registered by the local police in every Russian town. If the frontier 
is to be crossed into Persia, this should have been viseed beforehand 
at the Persian Embassy in London, or by a Persian Consul in some 
neighbouring place. 

It is hopeless at present to attempt penetrating into Afghanis- 
tan. Witness the experience of Mr. Stevens, the bicyclist, and of 
the French travellers, MM. Pepin and Bonvalot. For postal 
journeys in Russian territory a podorojna must be -procured from 
the postal station, and countersigned by the authorities. Payment is 
always required before starting, and covers the entire expense of 


teams, provided at the several post-stations throughout the journey. 
The document must be produced at each station and handed to the 
postmaster. The vehicle is hired separately, or, if wanted for long 
distances, is frequently bought. A gratuity to the drivers is the 
only extra expense. 

Transcaspia and Western Turkestan are not in themselves to bo 
visited for purposes of sport, although they are on the high road to 
the sportsman's El Dorado, the Pamir, and the home of the Great 
Mountain Sheep. 

Letters to and from Transcaspia are only precariously delivered, 
and are liable to be opened in transitu. 




ART. I. The frontier between the dominions of His Imperial 
Majesty the Emperor of All the Russias and His Highness the Amir 
of Bokhara remains unchanged. 1 

The K hi van territory on the right bank of the Amu Daria 
having been incorporated in the Russian Empire, the former frontier 
between Khiva and Bokhara, from the oasis of Khelata to Gugertli, 
is abolished. The territory between the former Bokharo-Khivan 
frontier on the right bank of the Amu Daria from Gugertli to Mes- 
chekli, and from Meschekli to the point of junction of the former 
Bokharo-Khivan frontier with the frontier of the Russian Empire, 
is incorporated in the dominions of the Amir of Bokhara. 

ART. II. The right bank of the Amu Daria being severed from 
the Khanate of Khiva, the caravan routes leading north from Bokhara 
into the Russian dominions traverse exclusively the territories of 
Bokhara and Russia. The Governments of Russia and Bokhara, 
each within its own territory, shall watch over the safety of these 
caravan routes and of the trade thereupon. 

ART. III. Russian steamers, and other Russian vessels, whether 
belonging to the Government or to private individuals, shall have 
the right of free navigation on that portion of the Amu Daria which 
belongs to the Amir of Bokhara. 

ART. IV. The Russians shall have the right to establish piers 
and warehouses in such places upon the Bokharan banks of the Amu 
Daria as may be judged necessary and convenient for that purpose. 
The Bokharan Government shall be responsible for the safety of 

1 I.e. since the Treaty of 1863. 


these erections. The final and definite selection of localities shall 
rest with the supreme Russian authorities in Central Asia. 

ART. V. All the towns and villages of the Khanate of Bokhara 
shall be open to Russian trade. Russian traders and caravans shall 
have free passage throughout the Khanate, and shall enjoy the 
special protection of the local authorities. The Bokharan Govern- 
ment shall be responsible for the safety of Russian caravans on 
Bokharan territory. 

ART. VI. All merchandise belonging to Russian traders, 
whether imported from Russia to Bokhara, or exported from Bok- 
hara to Russia, shall be subject to an ad valorem duty of 2^ per 
cent., in the same manner as an ad valorem duty of 4 ! is charged in 
the Russian province of Turkestan. No other tax, duty or impost 
whatsoever shall be imposed thereupon. 

ART. VII. Russian traders shall have the right to transport 
their merchandise through Bokhara free of transit dues. 

ART. VIII. Russian traders shall have the right to establish 
caravanserais for the storage of merchandise in all Bokharan towns. 
The same right is accorded to Bokharan traders in the towns of the 
Russian province of Turkestan. 

ART. IX. Russian traders shall have the right to keep com- 
mercial agents in all the towns of Bokhara, in order to watch over 
the progress of trade and the levying of duties, and to enter into 
communications with the local authorities thereupon. The same 
right is accorded to Bokharan traders in the towns of the Russian 
province of Turkestan. 

ART. X. All commercial engagements between Russians and 
Bokharans shall be held sacred, and shall be faithfully carried out 
by both parties. The Bokharan Government shall undertake 
to keep watch over the honest fulfilment of all such engagements, 
and over the fair and honourable conduct of commercial affairs in 

ART. XL Russian subjects shall have the right, in common 
\\ ith the subjects of Bokhara, to carry on all branches of industry 
ard handicraft on Bokharan territory that are sanctioned by the 
Liw of Sharigat. Bokharan subjects shall have a similar right to 
practise all such occupations on Russian territory as are sanctioned 
by the law of Russia. 

ART. XII. Russian subjects shall have the right to acquire 
f ardens, cultivate lands, and own every species of real property in the 
II liana te. Such property shall be subject to the same land-tax as 

F F 


Bokharan property. The same right shall be enjoyed by Bokharan 
subjects in the whole territory of the Russian Empire. 

ART. XIII. Russian subjects shall have the right to enter 
Bokharan territory when furnished with permits, signed by the 
Russian authorities. They shall have the right of free passage 
throughout the Khanate, and shall enjoy the special protection of 
the Bokharan authorities. 

ART. XIV. The Bokharan Government shall not in any case 
admit on to Bokharan territory any foreigners, of whatever nation- 
ality, arriving from Russian territory, unless they be furnished with 
special permits signed by the Russian authorities. If a criminal, 
Ireing a Russian subject, takes refuge on Bokharan territory, he shall 
bo arrested by the Bokharan authorities and delivered over to the 
nearest Russian authorities. 

ART. XV. In order to maintain direct and uninterrupted rela- 
tions with the supreme Russian authorities in Central Asia, the 
Arnir of Bokhara shall appoint one of his intimate counsellors to be 
his resident envoy and plenipotentiary at Tashkent. Such envoy 
shall reside at Tashkent in a house belonging to the Amir and at 
the expense of the latter. 

ART. XVI. The Russian Government shall in like manner 
have the right to appoint a permanent representative at Bokhara, 
attached to the person of If is Highness the Amir. He shall reside 
in a house belonging to the Russian Government and at the expense 
of the latter, 

ART. XVII. In conformity with the desire of the Emperor of 
All the Russias, and in order to enhance the glory of His Imperial 
Majesty, His Highness the Amir Seirl Mozaffur has determined as 
follows : The traffic in human beings, being contrary to the law 
which commands man to love his neighbour, is abolished for ever in 
the territory of Bokhara. In accordance with this resolve, the 
strictest injunctions shall immediately be given by the Amir-to all 
his Begs to enforce the new law, and special orders shall be sent to all 
the frontier towns of Bokhara to which slaves are brought for sale 
from neighbouring countries, that should any such slaves be brought 
thither, they shall be taken from their owners and shall be set at 
liberty without loss of time. 

ART. XVIII, His Highness the Amir Seid Mozaffur, being 
sincerely desirous of strengthening and developing the amicable re- 
lations which have subsisted for five years to the benefit of Bokhara, 
approves and accepts for his guidance the above seventeen articles 


composing a treaty of friendship between Russia and Bokhara. 
This treaty shall consist of two copies, each copy being written in 
the two languages, in the Russian and in the Turki language. 

In token of the confirmation of this treaty and of its acceptance 
for the guidance of himself and of his successors, the Amir Seid 
Mozaffur has affixed thereto his seal. Done at Shaar on the 10th 
day of October, 1873, being the 19th day of the month Shayban, of 
the year 1 290. 



Akhal-Khorfixfin Boundary), 1881 

JN the name 6f God the Almighty. His Majesty the Emperor and 
Autocrat of All the Kussias, and His Majesty the 8hah of Persia, 
acknowledging the necessity of accurately defining the frontier of 
their possessions east of the Caspian Sea, and of establishing therein 
security and tranquillity, have agreed to conclude a Convention for 
that purpose, and have appointed as their Plenipotentiaries : 

His Majesty the Emperor and Autocrat of All the Ilussias, on 
the one hand, Ivan Zinovieff, his Envoy Extraordinary and Minister 
Plenipotentiary at the Court of His Majesty the Shah ; 

His Majesty the Shah of Persia, on the other, Mirza Seid Khan, 
Mutemid-ul-Mulk, his Minister for Foreign Affairs ; 

Who, having exchanged their respective full powers, found in 
good aucl duo form, have agreed on the following Articles : 

ART. I. The frontier lino between the possessions of the Russian 
Empire and Persia, east of the Caspian Sea, is fixed as follows : 

Beginning at the Hassan Kuli Gulf, the course of the Kiver 
Atrek serves as the frontier as far as Chat. From Chat the frontier- 
line follows in a north -easterly direction the ridges of the Songu 
Dagh and Sagirim ranges, thence extending northward to the Chandir 
Hiver, reaching the bed of that river at Tchakan Kala. EJrom 
Tchakan Kala it runs in a noitherly direction to the ridge of the 
mountains dividing the Chandir and Sumbar valleys, and extends 
along the ridge of these mountains in an easterly direction, descend- 
ing to the bed of the Sumbar at the spot where the Akh-AgafaaaT 
stream falls into it. From this point eastward the bed of the 
Sumbar marks the frontier as far as the ruins of Medjet Daine. 
Thence the road to Durun forms the frontier- line as far as tie ridge 
of the Kopet Dagh, along the ridge of which the frontier extends 
south-eastward, but before reaching the upper part of the Gerniab 
Pass, turns to the south along the mountain heights dividing the 


Galley of the Sumbar from the source of the Gerinab. Thence taking 
a south-easterly direction across the summits of the Misino and 
Tchubest mountains, it reaches the road from Germab to Rabat, 
passing at a distance of one verst to the north of the latter spot. 
From this point the frontier- line runs along the ridge of the moun- 
tains as far as the summit of the Dalai ig mountain, whence, passing 
on the northern side of the village of Khairabad, it extends in a 
north -easterly direction as far as the boundaries of Geok Keital. 
From the boundaries of Geok Keital the frontier-line crosses to the 
gorge of the River Firuze, intersecting that gorge on the northern 
side of the village of Firuze. Thence the frontier-line takes a south- 
easterly direction to the summits of the mountain range, bounding 
on the south the valley through which the road from Askabad to 
Firuze passes, and runs along the crest of these mountains to the 
most easterly point of the range. From here the frontier-line crosses 
over to the northernmost summit of the Aselm range, passing along 
its ridge in a south-easterly direction, and then skirting round to the 
north of the village of Keltechinar, it runs to the point where the 
Zir-i-Koh and Kizil Dagh mountains join, extending thence south- 
eastward along the summits of the Zir-i-Koh range until it issues into 
the valley of the JBaba Durroaz stream. It then takes a northerly 
direction, and reaches the oasis at the road from Gyaurs to Lutfabad, 
leaving the fortress of Baba Durinaz to the east. 

ART. II. Whereas, in Article I. of the present Convention, the 
principal points are indicated through which the frontier between 
the possessions of Russia and Persia is to pass, the High Contracting 
Parties are to appoint Special Commissioners, with a view of 
accurately tracing on the spot the frontier-line, and of erecting 
proper boundary-marks. The date and place of meeting of the said 
Commissioners shall be mutually agreed upon by the High Con- 
tracting Parties. 

ART. III. Whereas the forts of Germab and Kulkulab, situated 
in the gorge through which the stream watering the soil of the Trans- 
Caspian province passes, lie to the north of the line which, in virtue 
of Article I. of the present Convention, is to serve as the boundary 
between the territories of the two High Contracting Parties, the 
Government of His Majesty the Shah engages to evacuate the said 
forts within the space of one year from the date of the exchange of 
the ratifications of the present Convention, but shall have the right 
during the said period to remove the inhabitants of Gennab and 
Kulkulab to within the Persian frontier, and to establish them there. 
On its part, the Government of the Emperor of All the Russian. 


engages not to erect fortifications in these said localities nor to 
establish any Turkoman families therein. 

ART. IV. Whereas, the sources of the River Fifuze, as well as 
of other streams watering the soil of the Transcaspian province con- 
tiguous to the Persian frontier lie within the Persian territory, the 
Government of His Majesty the Shah engages on no account what- 
ever to permit the establishment of fresh settlements along the 
course of the said streams and rivulets from their sources to the 
point where they leave Persian territory, and not to extend the area 
of land at present under cultivation, and under no pretence whatever 
to turn off the water in larger quantities than is necessary for irri- 
gating the fields now under cultivation within the Persian territory. 
With a view to the immediate observance and fulfilment of this 
stipulation the Government of His Majesty the Shah engages to 
appoint a sufficient number of competent agents, and to subject any 
inf ringer thereof to severe punishment. 

ART. V. With a view to the development of commercial inter- 
course between the Transcaspian province and Khorasan, both High 
Contracting Parties engage to come to a mutually advantageous 
agreement as soon as possible for the construction of wagon-roads 
suitable for commercial traffic between the above-mentioned provinces. 

ART. VI. The Government of His Majesty the Shah of Persia 
engages to strictly prohibit the export from His Majesty's dominions 
along the whole extent of the frontier of the provinces of Astrabad 
and Khorasan, of all arms and war material, and likewise to adopt 
measures to prevent arms being supplied to the Turkomans residing 
in Persian territory. The Persian frontier authorities shall afford 
the most effective support to the agents of the Imperial Russian 
Government, whose duty it shall be to watch that arms are not 
exported from the Persian territory. The Government of His 
Majesty the Emperor of All the Russias, on its part, engages to 
prevent arms and war material being supplied from Russian territory 
to Turkomans living in Persia. 

ART. VII. With a view to the observance and fulfilment of the 
stipulations of the present Convention, and in order to regulate the 
proceedings of the Turkomans residing on the Persian frontier, wie 
Government of His Majesty the Emperor of All the Russias shall 
have the right to nominate agents to the frontier points of Persia. 
In all questions concerning the observance of order and tranquillity 
in the districts contiguous to the possessions of the High Contracting 
Parties, the appointed agents will act as intermediaries in the 
relations between the Russian and Persian authorities. 


ART. VIII. All engagements and stipulations contained in 
Treaties and Conventions concluded up to this time between the two 
High Contracting Parties shall remain in force. 

ART. IX. The present Convention, done in duplicate, and 
signed by the Plenipotentiaries of both parties, who have affixed to 
it the seal of their arms, shall be confirmed and ratified by His 
Majesty the Emperor and Autocrat of All the Russias and His 
Majesty the Shah of Persia ; the ratifications to be exchanged 
between the Plenipotentiaries of both parties at Teheran within the 
space of four months, or earlier, if possible. 

Done at Teheran the 21st December, 1881, which corresponds to 
the Mussulman date of the 29th Mucharem, 1299. 




1. Selection from early travels. 

2. General information. 

3. Bokhara. 

4. Khiva. 

5. Turkestan. 

6. Turkoraania and the Turkomans. 



1. General information. 

2. Anglo -Afghan wars. 

The first Afghan war, 1838-1842. 
The second Afghan war, 1878-1880. 

3. The Afghan Frontier Question. 

4. Beluchistan. 

5. Euphrates Valley Railway. 


. The following Bibliography, though it contains a great number of 
titles that have not hitherto been collected, and covers a surface 
distinct from any previous publication, makes no claim to be con- 
sidered exhaustive. It might without trouble and with the aid of 
the excellent bibliographies that have been published by Russian 
authorities, have been extended to tenfold its present dimensions. 
A mere selection from MejotTs copious volumes 1 would alone have 
sufficed for this object. I have purposely limited it, however, in 
obedience to the following considerations. My desire has been to 
name : 

1. The chief books relating to the subject-matter of this volume, 

1 Recueil du Turkestan, comprenant des livres et des articles sur I'Asie 
Centrale, compost par V. J. Mejoff. 3 vols., St. Petersburg, 1878, 1884, 1888. 


i.e. Russian and British Central Asia, that have appeared during 
the not too remote past, and principally since the beginning of this 
century, omitting such writings as have either become wholly obso- 
lete or have ceased to merit attention. 

2. The books most easily accessible to English readers, and for 
the most part written in, or translated into, the English language. 
I have accordingly only mentioned the principal Russian, German, 
and French works. In the case of Russian publications, assuming 
a general unfamiliarity with the Russian alphabet, I have either 
reproduced the titles in English characters and appended a trans- 
lation of their meaning, or have given the latter alone. 

3. The more recent books dealing with the latest phases of the 
Central Asian question, such as the Russo- Afghan frontier question 
and the Persian question. 

4. Such writings, irrespective of their merit or claim to live, as 
have hitherto been published outside Russia, upon a Central Asian 
or upon the Transcaspiaii Railway. This literature is only of 
ephemeral interest, but for the purposes of my book it has a certain 
importance, because the interest is that of to-day. 

The classification under four main headings I. Central Asia in 
general. II. The Transcaspiaii Railway. III. Afghanistan, and 
IV. Persia does not pretend to be a mutually exclusive one. Home 
books, notably those of extended travel or political criticism, might 
justly claim to be ranked under two, if not three, of the headings. 
Such works have been placed in the category to which they seemed 
most distinctively attached. The general principle of classification 
has been adopted, because the four subjects named are those most 
likely to appeal to the student as the objects of independent investi- 
gation. In the case of Central Asia and Afghanistan, geographical, 
historical, or political lines of cleavage have suggested a natural sub- 
division into minor headings. The books are arranged throughout 
in chronological order, the date of the subject-matter (in the case of 
history) being accepted as the criterion in preference to that of 

Restricting my range of vision in this bibliography, as in the book 
to which it fortns an appendix, to those parts of Central Asia in 
which Great Britain and Russia have a common interest, and whose 
history and fortunes are bound up with the policy of the two empires, 
I have included no special references to Russian advance or power 
in Siberia, Mongolia, Chinese Turkestan, or Thibet. The bibliography, 
like the volume, may be defined as referring to the regions between 
the Caspian on the west and Khokand on the east, and from the 


Indian frontier and the Persian Gulf 011 the south to the Syr Daria 
and the Aral Sea on the north. Scientific works, i.e. works relating 
to the physical features, climate, ethnography, flora, fauna, and 
products of Central Asia, I have, as a general rule, excluded, as 
unsuited to this work. Neither have I incorporated references to 
the proceedings of scientific societies, nor articles from magazines, 
periodical publications, and journals ; although much useful litera- 
ture, only to be disinterred after prodigious labour, lies embedded in 
these uninspiring surroundings. 

Dr. Lansdell, at the close of his second volume, prints a biblio- 
graphy, differently classified, and compiled with immense assiduity, 
but upon less eclectic principles. A student is more likely to be 
bewildered than relieved by the spectacle of 700 titles, covering 22 
pages of very small print, and relating to Russian Central Asia alone. 
His bibliography, further, like his chronology, omits all reference to 
Persia, Afghanistan, and the Frontier Question, and ceases in 1 884, 
My bibliography of the three last-named subjects is, so far as I know 
the first that has appeared. 

In the compilation of the following catalogue valuable assistance 
lias been most amiably lent to me by Mr. G. K. Fortescue, Assistant 
Librarian of the British Museum. 

1. Selection from Early Travels. 

Iliouen Thsang. Mdmoires sur les contrees occidentals : traduits 

du Sanscrit en chinois en Tan 648 ; et du chiiiois en fran^ais, 

par M. Stanislas Julien. Paris : 1853, 1858. 
Ibn Haukal. The Oriental Geography of I. H., an Arabian traveller 

of the 10th century. Translated by Sir William Ouseley, Kt. 

London: 1800. 
jRubruqitis, W. de. The Journal of Friar William de Rubruquis, a 

Frenchman of the Order of the Minorite Friers, into the East 

Parts of the Worlde, A.D. 1253. (Hakluyt Society.) London : 

Polo, Marco. Travels in the Thirteenth Century, being a description 

by that Early Traveller of Remarkable Places and Things in 

the Eastern Parts of the World, translated, with notes, by 

W, Marsden. London : 1818. 
The Book of Ser Marco Polo the Venetian, concerning 

the Kingdoms and Marvels of the East. Newly translated and 


edited, with notes, <kc., by Colonel Henry Yule. 2 vols. 
London : 1871, 1875. 

Ibn Batutah. The Travels of Ibii Batutah (1324-5). Translated by 
S. Lee. London : 1829. 

Voyages of Ibn Batutah. London : 1853. 

Clavijo, Don Ruy Gonzalez di. Narrative of the Embassy of 
Ruy Gonzalez di Clavijo to the Court of Timour at Samarkand, 
A.D. 1403-6. Translated by C. R. Markham (Hakluyt Society). 
London : 1859. 

Baber. The Life of Muharamed Babar(Thakir Al-Din), Emperor of 
Hindostan. (Written by himself in the Jaghatai Toorki lan- 
guage.) Translated by J. Leyder and W. Erskine, with notes 
and a geographical and historical introduction. Together with 
a map of the countries between the Oxus and Jaxartes, and a 
memoir regarding its construction by C. Waddington. London : 

Another edition abridged by R. M. Caldecott. London : 


Jenkinson, A. Early Voyages and Travels to Russia and Persia by 
A. J. (^ 557 -1572) and other Englishmen. With some account 
of the first intercourse of the English with Russia and Central 
Asia by way of the Caspian Sea. Edited by E. D. Morgan 
and C. H. Coote (Hakluyt Society). 2 vols. London : 1886. 

Tavernier, J. B. The Six Voyages of John Baptista Tavernier 
through Turkey into Persia and the East Indies, finished in the 
year 1670, made English by J. P. To which is added a descrip- 
tion of all the Kingdoms which encompass the Euxine and 
Caspian Seas, by an English traveller. London : 1678. 

Voyages de, d'apres des documents nouveaux, par Ch. 

Jovet. Paris : 1866. 

Stmiys, Jan. The Voiages arid Travels of J. S. through Italy, Greece, 
Muscovy, Tartary, Media, Persia, East India, Japan . . . Together 
with an account of the authors . . . dangers by shipwreck . . . 
slavery . . . torture, <fec. And two Narratives of the taking 
of Astracan by the Cossacks, sent from Capt. D. Butler. Done 
out of Dutch by J. Morrison. London : 1684. 

Chardin, Sir J. Travels into Persia and the East Indies. London : 

Voyages en Perse et autres lieux de TOrient. Nouvelle 

Edition augmented d'une notice de la Perse depuis les temps 
les plus recutes jusqu'a ce jour, par L. Langles. 10 vols. 
Paris : 1811. 


Uanway, Jonas. An Historical Account of the British Trade over 
the Caspian Sea ; with a Journal of Travels from London 
through Russia into Persia and back again through Russia, 
Germany, and Holland ; to which are added the Revolutions 
of Persia during the present century, with the particular His- 
tory of Nadir Kouli, tfec. 4 vols. 1753. 2 vols. 1754. London : 
17f>3, 1754, 1762. 

An Historical Account of the Present Troubles of Persia 

and Georgia. Continuation of J. H.'s History to the end of 
1753. London: 1756. 

2. General Information. 

Fo rttter, Gvo. Journey from Bengal to England, overland. 2 vols. 

London : 1808. 
JKvans, Lt.-Col. De Lacy. On the practicability of an Invasion of 

British India. London : 1829. 
Conolly, Capt. A. Journey to the North of India, overland from 

England through Russia, Persia, and Afghanistan. 2 vols. 

London : 1834, 1838. 
M'Neill, Sir J. Progress and present position of Russia in the 

East. 1836, 1854. 
Hagenieister, J. de. Essai sur les ressources territoriales et comrner- 

ciales de 1'Asie Occidentale, le caractere des habitaiis, leur in- 

dustrie et leur organisation municipale. St. Petersburg : 1839. 
Urquhart, D. Diplomatic Transactions in Central Asia from 1834 

to 1839. London : 1841. 
Progress of Russia in the West, North, and South, by 

opening the sources of opinion and appropriating the channels 

of Wealth and Power. London : 1853. 
Wood) Capt. J. A personal Narrative of a Journey to the source of 

the River Oxus, by the route of the Indus, Kabul, and Badakh 

shan, in 1836, 1837, 1838. London : 1841. 
A new edition. With an Essay on the Geography of the 

Valley of the Oxus by Col. H. Yule. London : 1872. 
Iluinboldt, Alex. von. Asie Centrale. Recherches sur les chaines de 

montagnes et la climatologie compared. 3 vols. Paris : 1843. 
Hetty Xavier H. de. Les Steppes de la mer Caspienne, le Caucase, 

la Crirae'e et la Russie M&idionale. 3 vols. Paris : 1843-5. 

Travels in the Steppes of the Caspian Sea. London : 1847. 

Mitford) JB. L. A Land March from England to Ceylon forty years 

ago. 2 vols. London : 1884. 


Zimmermann,) Lieut. C. Denkschrift liber den untern Lauf des 
Oxus zum Karaburgas-Haff des Caspischeu Meeres und iiber 
die Strombahn des Ochus oder Tedshen der Neueren zur 
Balkan Bay. Berlin : 1845. 

Khanikoff, JV. de. Memoire sur la partie m^ridionale de TAsiQ 
Centrale. Paris: 1861. 

Anonymous. Report on the Trade and Resources of the Countries 
on the N.W. Boundary of British India. Lahore : 1862. 

Valikhanoff, Capt., and Veniukoff, M. The Russians in Central 
Asia, their occupation of the Kirghiz Steppe and the line of the 
Syr-Daria, their political relations with Khiva, Bokhara, and 
Kokan, also descriptions of Chinese Turkestan and Dzungaria. 
By Capt. Valikhanoff, M. VeniukofF, arid other Russian travel- 
lers. Translated by J. and R. Michell. London : 1865. 

Veniukoff, M. The Pamir and the Sources of the Amu-Daria. 
Translated by J. Michell 1866. 

Opyt Voiennago Obozreiiiya Russkikh Oranits v Asii. 

(Attempt at a military sketch of the Russian frontiers in Asia.) 
St. Petersburg : 1873. 

- Les plus recentes explorations russes en Asie. I.: M. 
Rheinthal a Kashgar. II.: M. Nikitin a Khokand. Russische 
Revue. St. Petersburg : 1876. 

On Geographical discoveries in Asiatic Russia, 1577-1877 


List of Russian travellers in Asia from 1 854-1 880 (Russian). 

Yule, Col. H. Cathay and the Way Thither (Hakluyt Society). 

London : 1866. 

Vatnbery, A. Travels in Central Asia. Journey from Teheran 
across the Turkoman Desert, on the east shore of the Caspian, 
to Khiva, Bokhara, and Samarcand, performed in 1863. Lon- 
don : 1864. 

Sketches of Central Asia. Additional chapters' on my 

Travels, Adventures, and on the Ethnology of Central Asia. 
London : 1867, 1868. 

Russlands Machtstellung in Asien. Leipzig : 1871. 

Centralasien und cUe englisch-russische Grenzfrage. Gesam- 

melte politische Schriften. Leipzig : 1873. 

Central Asia and the Anglo-Russian Frontier Question. 

Translated by F. E. Burnett. London : 1874. 

Life and Adventures written by himself. London 1883, 

1884, 1885, 1886, 1889. 

The Coming Struggle for India. London : 1885. 


Bell, Major Evans. The Oxus and the Indus. London : 1869, 

Hellwald, F. von. Die Ilussen in Centralasien : eine geographisch- 

historische Studie mit einer Uebersichtskarte, Wien : 1869. 

The Russians in Central Asia. A critical examination 

down to the present time of the Geography and History of 
Central Asia. Translated from the German by T. Wirgman. 
London : 1874. 

Centralasien. Landschaften und Volker in Kaschgar, Tur- 
kestan, Kaschmir und Tibet. Mit besonderer Riicksicht auf 
Russlands Bestrebungen und seinen Kulturberuf, Leipzig : 

Trench, Capt. F. The Russo-Indian Question, historically, strate- 
gically, and politically considered ; with sketch of Central 
Asiatic politics. London : 1869. 

The Central Asian Question (a lecture). London : 1873. 

JRomanovski, M. Notes on the Central Asiatic Question. Trans- 

lated by R. Michell. Calcutta : 1870, 
Kostenlfo, CoL L. F. Srednyaya Aziya i vodvorenie v nei Rooskoi 

grajdanstvennosti. (Central Asia and the Installation therein 

of Russian Civilisation). St. Petersburg : 1871, 
Goldsmid, Sir F. J. Central Asia and its Question. London: 1873. 
Fedchenko, A. Letters from Khokand to the * Turkestan Gazette. 1 

Translated from the Russian by R. Michell. 

Outlines of Geography and History of the Upper Amu- 

Daria (Russian). St. Petersburg : 1873. 

Taylor, Bayard. Travels in Cashmere, Tibet, and Central Asia. 
Compiled and arranged by B. T. New York : 1874. 

Stttmm) //. Russia's advance Eastward. Translated by C. E. H. 
Vincent. London : 1874. 

Russia in Central Asia. Historical Sketch of Russia's Pro- 
gress in the East up to 1873, and of the incidents which led to 
the campaign against Khiva, with a description of the military 
districts of the Caucasus, Orenburg, and Turkestan. Translated 
by J. W. Ozanne and H. Sachs. London : 1885. 

Terentieff, Capt. M. A. Statistical Sketch of Central Asia (Russian). 
St. Petersburg : 1874. 

Russia and England in the Struggle for Markets in Central 

Asia (Russian). St. Petersburg : 1875. (Translated into Eng- 
lish.) Calcutta: 1876. 

Polio, CoL V. A. Steppe Campaigns. Translated from Russian by 
F, C. H. Clarke. London : 1874. 


Girard de JRialle, J. M&noire snr 1'Asie Centrale, son histoire, ses 
populations. Paris : 1875. 

Les peuples de TAsie et de TEwrope. Paris : 1885. 

Bretschneider, E. Chinese Mediaeval Travellers to the West. Lon- 
don : 187o. 

Notices of the Mediaeval Geography and History of Central 

and Western Asia, drawn from Chinese and Mongol writings, 
and compared with the observations of Western authors in the 
middle ages. London: 1876. 

Medieval Researches from Eastern Asiatic Sources. Frag- 
ments towards the knowledge of the Geography and History of 

Central and Western Asia, from the 13th to the 17th Century. 

2 vols. (Tri'dmer's Oriental Series.) London : 1888. 
Hawlinson, Sir II. C. England and Russia in the East. A series 

of papers on the condition of Central Asia. London : 1875. 
Ilutton, James. Central Asia, from the Aryan to the Cossack. 

London: 1875. 
jReclns, JSlisee J. J. Nouvelle Geographic universelle. La Terre et 

les hommes. Vol. VI., TAsie Centrale. Paris : 1875-1881. 

English translation of the above. London : 1878, &c. 

Hochstetter, F. von. Asicn, seine Zukunftsbahnen und seine 

Kohlenschatze. Eine geographische Studie. Wien : 1876. 
Cazelet, E. England's Policy in the East : Our Relations with 

Russia. London : 1876. 
Cory, Colonel A. Shadows of Coming Events; or, the Eastern 

Menace. London: 1876, 1881. 
Paquier, J. J3. Le Painir ; etude de Geographic physique et 

historique sur PAsie Centrale. Paris: 1876. 
Gordon, Lieut. Col. T. E. The Roof of the World. Edinburgh : 

Wood, Major Herbert. The Shores of Lake Aral. London : 

Vidal de Lablache, P. Les Empires Anglais et Russo en Asie. 

Paris: 1877. 
Minaeff, M. Ocherki Tseilonn i Indii (Sketches of Ceylon and 

India). St. Petersburg : 1878. 
Lankenau, If. von, and Oelsnik, L. Das heutige Russland. 2 vols. 

Leipzig: 1878. 

Russia, Past and Present, adapted from the above by H. 

M. Chester (S.P.C.K). London: 1881. 

KJiorochkine, A. P. Recueil d'ltindraires dans TAsie Centrale. 
- (Ec6le des Langues Orientales.) Paris : 1878, 


Itadloff, Thomas. Itindraire de la valle*e du Moyen Zerefchan. 

(Traduit par L. Leger.) 1878. 

Villeroi, B. de. A Trip through Central Asia. Calcutta : 1878. 
Cotton, Sir S. The Central Asian Question. Dublin : 1878. 
Karazin, N. N. Les pays ou Ton se battra. Voyages dans 1'Asie 

Centrale. Traduit du Russe par T. Lvoff et A. Teste. Paris 


Scenes de la vie terrible dans PAsie Centrale. Traduit du 

Russe par T. Lvoff et A. Teste. Paris : 1880. 

/Wt/tf, /*. Les Ru&ses sur le cliemin de Pliide. Paris : 1879. 
Anonymous. Invasions of India from Central Asia. London : 

Martens, M. F. de. La Russie et TAngleterre dans 1'Asie Centrale. 

(Ex trait de la Revue de Droit International et de Legislation 

cornpare'e.) Paris : 1879. 

Russia and England in Central Asia. London : 1879. 

Boulger, D. C. The Life of Yakoob Beg. London : 1878. 

England and Russia in Central Asia. 2 vols. London : 


Central Asian Portraits ; the celebrities of the Khanates 

and neighbouring states. London: 1880. 

Central Asian Questions, Essays on Afghanistan, China, 

and Central Asia. London : 1885. 

M. Les Routes de 1'Inde. Paris: 1880. 

Colonel N. L. Colonel Grodekoff's Ride from Samarkand 
to Herat in 1878. (Translated by Charles Marvin.) London: 

Leroy-Jiean?ieu y A. L'empire des Tsars et les Russes. Paris : 

W. c La Russie et 1'Angleterre dans 1'Asie Ceiitrale.' 
London : 1881. 

E. von. Russland und England : aussere und innere Gegen- 
satze. Leipzig: 1881. 

art) C. Recueil de documents sur 1'Asie Centrale. 
(Ecole special e des Langues Orientales vivantes.) Paris : 1881. 
CoL A. N. Kashgaria; Historical and Geographical 
Sketch of the Country, its Military Strength, Industries, and 
Trade. Translated from the Russian by W. E. Gowan. Cal- 
cutta : 1882. 

Keane, A. II. Asia ; with ethnological appendix. Edited by Sir 
R. Temple. (Stanford's Compendium of Geography and 
Travel.) London : 1882, 1888. 


Marvin Oh. Reconnoitring Central Asia ; pioneering adventures 
in the region lying between Russia and India. London : 1884. 

The Region of Eternal Fire ; an account of a journey to 

tne petroleum region of the Caspian in 1883. London : 1884, 

The Russian Advance towards India ; Conversations with 

SkobelefF, Ignatieff, and other Distinguished Russian Generals 
and Statesmen on the Central Asian Question. London : 

JJonvalot, G. En Asie Centrale. De Moscou en Bactriane. Paris : 
1884. ' 

En Asie Centrale. Du Kohistaii a la Caspieime. Paris : 


Du Caucase aux Indes a travers le Pamir. Paris : 1889. 

Through the Heart of Asia ; over tho Pamir to India. 

(Being a translation of the above.) 2 vols. London : 1889. 

Howorth, H. History of the Mongols from the Ninth to the Nine- 
teenth Century. 4 vols. London: 1876-1888. 

Roskoschny, //. von. Das asiatische Russland. Leipzig : 1884. 

Potagos, Dr. Dix anne*es de voyages dans 1'Asie Centrale et TAfrique 
Equatoriale : Traduction de MM. A. Meyer, I. Blancard, L. 
Labadie, et A. E. Burnouf. Paris : 1885. 

Haymerle, A. von. Ultima Thule. England und Russland in 
Central- Asien. Separat-Abdruck aus Streffleur's Oesterreichi- 
scher militarischer Zeitschrift. Wien : 1885. 

Subotin, A. Russia and England in the Markets of Central Asia, 
(Russian.) St. Petersburg : 1885. 

Weil, Copt. La Campagne des Russes dans le Khanate de Kokhand 
Paris : 1885. 

Kuropatkin, Col. A. N. Les Con fins Anglo- Russes dans 1'Asie 
Centrale. Traduit par Capt. G. le Marchand. Paris : 1885. 

Paquin, Capt. La Russie et 1'Angleterre dans 1'Asie Centrale. 
Paris: 1885. 

Lansdell, Rev. IL Russian Central Asia. 2 Vols. London : 1885. 

Through Central Asia ; with a map and appendix on the 

diplomacy and delineation of the Russo- Afghan Frontier. 
London: 1887. 

Hawker, Rev. J. Russia's Limits. London : 1885. 

Edwards, H. 8. Russian Projects against India, from the Czar 

Peter to General Skobeleff. London: 1885. 
Neumann, Capt. Les Russes et les Anglais dans 1'Asie Centrale. 

(Publication de la Reunion des Officiers.) Paris : 1885. 

G O 


Nalivkin, M. W. History of the Khanate of Khokand. (Russian.) 

Kazan : 1885. 

JJaxter, W. E. England and Russia in Asia. London : 1885. 
Albertua, I. Die Englisch-russische Frage und die deutscho 

Kolonial-Politik. Innsbruck: 1885. 
Moser, If. A travers 1'Asie Centrale : Impressions de voyage. 

Paris : 1886. 

Prioux, A. Les Russes dans 1'Asie Centrale. Paris : 1886. 
L. M. II. La Russie et 1'Angleterre en Asie Centrale ; d'apres 

la brochure de M. Lessar [entitled ' Quelques considra- 

tions sur les territoires contested et sur la situation generale 

de la Russie et de FAngleterre en Asie Centrale ']. Paris : 


Major C. Is a Russian Invasion of India Feasible 1 

London ; 1887. 

Major Otto. Die Politische und Militarische Bedeutung des 

Kaukasus. Berlin : 1889. 

(Vide also Parliamentary Papers passim.) 

3. Bokhara. 

Meyendorff, Baron G. de. Voyage d'Orenbourg k Boukhara fait en 
1820. a travers les Steppes qui s'&endent a Test de la mer 
d'Aral et au-del& de Fancier* Jaxartes. Paris : 1826. 

The same \ translated by Colonel Monteith. Madras : 1840* 

The same ; translated by Captain E. F. Chapman. Cal- 
cutta : 1870. 

JBurne8 9 Sir A. Travels into Bokhara ; being an account of a 
Journey from India to Cabool, Tartary, and Persia in 1831-33. 
Lpndon : 1834, 1835, 1839. 

Wolff^ Joseph. Researches and Missionary Labours amongst the 
Jews, Mohammedans, and other Sects. London : 1835. 

Narrative of a Mission to Bokhara in the Years 1843- 

1845 to Ascertain the Fate of Colonel Stoddart and Captain 
Conolly. 2 vols. London : 1846, Edinburgh : 1852. 

Travels and Adventures. 2 vols, London : 1860-1861. 

Grovor, Captain J. An Appeal to the British Nation in Behalf of 

Colonel Stoddart and Captain Conolly, now in Captivity in 
Bokhara. London: 1843. 

The Ameer of Bokhara and Lord Aberdeen. London : 


* The Bokhara Victims. London : 1845. 


Khanikoff, N. de. Bokhara ; Its Arair and its People. Translated 
from the Russian by the Baron O. A. de Bode. London : 1845. 

Mohan, Lai. Travels in the Panjab, Afghanistan, and Turkistan, 
to Balk, Bokhara, and Herat. London : 1846. 

Lamansky, E. Esquisse geographique du bassin de la mer d'Aral, 
et quelques traits des mceurs des habitants de Boukhara, Khiva 
et Kokati. Paris : 1858. 

Gavazzi, Modesto. Alcune notizie raccolte in un viaggio a Bucara. 
Milano : 1865. 

Vambtry, Arm. History of Bokhara. London : 1873. 

Kostenko, Colonel L. F. Puteschestvie v Bukhara Russkoi missii. 
(Description of the Journey of a Russian Mission to Bokhara in 
1870.) Translated by R. Michell. St. Petersburg : 3881. 

(Vide also Selection from Early Travels Ibn Haukal, Marco 
Polo, Clavijo, Atkinson, Hanway and Vambdry's 'Travels in 
Central Asia ; ' Schuyler's ' Turkistan ' ; Moser's * A travers 
1'Asie Centrale ; ' and Lansdell's ' Russian Central Asia/) 

4. Khiva. 

Cherkassi, Prince A. B. A Narrative of the Russian Military Ex- 
pedition to Khiva in 1717. Translated from the Russian by R 

Michell. 1873. 
Khanikoff, Y. B. Poyeasdka iz Orska v Khiva i obratno. (Journey 

from Orsk to Khiva and back in 1740-41, by Gladisheff and 

Muravieff.) St. Petersburg : 1851. 
Muravieffl M. N. Voyage en Turcomanie et a Khiva, fait en 1819 

et 1820. Traduit du Russe par M. G. Lacointe de Laveau. 

Paris : 1823. 
Same ; translated from Russian, 1824, by P. Strahl ; and 

from German, 1871, by W. S. A. Lockhart, Foreign Press 

Department, Calcutta. Calcutta : 1871. 
Gens, General. Nachrichten liber Chrwa, Buchara, Chokund, <fec. 

2 vols. St. Petersburg : 1839. 
Abbott, Capt. J. Narrative of a Journey from Heraut to Khiva, 

Moscow, and St. Petersburg. 2 vols. London : 1843, 1856, 

1867, 1884. 
Perovski, General. Narrative of the Russian Military Expedition 

to Khiva in 1839. Translated by J. Michell. Calcutta : 

Ziminermann, Lieut. C. Memoir on the Countries about the Caspian 

and Aral Seas, illustrative of the late Russian Expedition 

G o 2 


Against Khivah. Translated from the German by Capt. 

Morier. London : 1840. 

Ker, D. On the Road to Khiva. London : 1874. 
Lerck, P. von. Khiwa oder Kharezm. Seine historischen und 

geographischen Verbal tnisse. St. Petersburg : 1873. 
MacGahan, J. A. Campaigning on the Oxus, and the Fall of Khiva. 

London : 1874, 1876. 
Anonymous. Khiva and Turkestan. Translated from the Russian 

by Capt. H. Spalding. London : 1874. 

tftumm, Hugo. Der russische Feldzug nach Chiwa. Berlin : 1875 
Burnaby, Capt. F. G. A Ride to Khiva ; Travels and Adventures 

in Central Asia. London : 1876, 1877, 1882, 1884. 
JKiza Qouly Khan. Relation de 1'Ambassade au Kharezm de R. Q. K. 

Publicfe, traduite et annote*e par Charles Schefer. Paris : 1876- 


Marmier, X. Les Russes & Khiva. Paris : 1878. 
Earlier, M. E. Expedition du Khiva. Paris, 

(Vide also H. Wood's Shores of Lake Aral ; ' Moser's ' A 

Travers TAsie Centrale ; ' and Lansdell's l Russian Central 


5. Tiirkestan. 

Hurslem, Capt. R. Peep into Toorkhistan. London : 1846. 

Paahino, P. J. Turkestanskii Krai (1866). St. Petersburg : 1868. 

Jiektchurin. Remarks on Turkestan (Russian). Kazan : 1872. 

Petrovski, N. F. Material! dlia tdrgovoi statistiki Toorkestaiiskago 
Kraya (Materials for Commercial Statistics of Turkestan). St. 
" Petersburg : 1874. 

Petzholdt, A. Turkestan auf Grundlage einer ini Jahre 1871 unter- 
rtommenen Bereisung des Landes geschildert. Leipzig : 1874. 

TJraschau im russischen Turkestan im Jahre 1871, nebst 

einer allgemeinen Schilderung des ' Turkestan'schen Beckens.' 
Leipzig : 1877. 

Schuyler, Eugene. Notes of a Journey in Russian Turkistan, Kho- 
kand, Bukhara, and Kuldja. 2 vols. London : 1876. 

Mejoff) V. J. Recueil du Turkestan, comprenant des livres et des 
articles sur 1'Asie Centrale en g^n^ral et le province de Turkes- 
tan en particulier. 3 vols. St. Petersburg : 1878, 1884, 1888. 

Kostenko, Col L. F. Toorkestanskii Krai (Turkestan Region.) 3 
vols. St Petersburg : 1880. 

Ififolvy, (7. E. de. Expedition scientifique fran^aise en Russie, en 
Sil^rie et dans le Turkestan. 6 vols. Vol. i : Le Kohistan, 


le Ferghanah et Kouldja. Vol ii. : Le Syr Daria et le Zeraf- 
chane. Paris : 1878-1880. 

Ujfalvy-Bourdon, Marie de. De Paris a Samarkand, le Ferghanah, 
le Kouldja, et la SibeVie occidentals Impressions de voyage 
d'une Parisienne. Paris : 1880. 

Maeff, Col N. A. Materiali dlia Statistiki Toorkestanskago Kraya 
(Materials for Statistics of Turkestan.) St. Petersburg. 

Mushketoff, Prof. J. V. Turkestan (Russian). Vol. i. St. Peters- 
burg : 1886. 

6. Turkomania and the Turkomans. 

Micfall, R. Memorandum on the Country of the Turcomans, giving 
an account of the East Coast of the Caspian. 1873. 

Epitome of Correspondence relating to Merv, with histori- 
cal and geographical accounts of the place and itineraries. 

Jiagdanoff. Review of Expeditions and Explorations in the Aral 

Caspian Region from 1720 to 1874. St. Petersburg : 1875. 
Baker, CJol. Vol. Clouds in the East. Travels and Adventures on 

the Perso-Turkoman Frontier. London : 1876. 
Kuropatkin, Col. A. N. Turkomania and the Turkomans. (From the 

Russian Military Journal.) Translated by R. Michell. 1879. 
Petniaewtch, Gen. The Turkomans between the old Bed of the 

Oxus and the North Persian Frontier. Translated by R. 

Michell from the Transactions of the Caucasus Branch of the 

Imperial Russian Geographical Society, No. XI. Tiflis : 1880. 
Marvin, Ch. The Eye- witnesses' Account of the Disastrous Russian 

Campaign against the Akhal Tekke Turkomans. London : 

1880, 1883. 

Merv, the Queen of the World ; and the Scourge of the 

Man-stealing Turkomans. With an exposition of the Khor- 
assan Question. London : 1881. 

The Russian Annexation of Merv. London ; 1884. 

Weil, Capt. La Tourkm&iie et les Tourkm&nes. Paris : 1880. 

L'Exp^dition du G6n6ral Skobeleff contre les Tourkm&nes. 

Paris: 1885. 
O. K. (Olga Nowkoff, n<*e Kiryeeff). Skobeleff and the Slavonic 

Cause. London : 1883. 
Dantchenko, V. I. N. Personal Reminiscences of General Skobeleff. 

Translated by E. A, Brayley Hodgetts. London : 1884. 
Adam,Mme. Le G&i&ul Skobeleff. Paris: 1886. 


Skobeleff, Gen. Official Report on the Siege and Assault of Denghil 
Tepe. Translated into English. London : 1881. 

Madoff, Capt. A. , N. Zavoevante Akhal Teke. (The Conquest of 
Akhal Tekke). St. Petersburg : 1882. 

Qrodekoff, Gen. N. I. Voina v Turkmenie. (The War in Turkomania.) 
4 vols. St. Petersburg : 1883. 

O'Donovan, E. The Merv Oasis : Travels and Adventures East of 
the Caspian, during the years 1879, 1880, 1881, including five 
months' residence among the Tekkes of Merv. 2 vols. London : 
1882, 1883. 

Merv : A story of Adventure and Captivity. London : 


Galkine, M. de. Notice sur les Turcomans de la c6te orientale do 
la Mer Caspienne. Paris: 1884. 

jRadde, Dr. G. Vorlaiifiger Bericht iiber die Expedition nach 
Transcaspien und Khorasan. 1887. 

Penkin, Z. M. The Transcaspian Province, 1866-1885. Alpha- 
betical Index to the titles of books and articles relating to 
the Transcaspian province and adjacent countries. (Russian.) St. 
Petersburg : 1888. 

( Vide also Conolly's * Overland Journey to India/ Vamb^ry's 
* Travels in Central Asia/ Rawlinson's ' England and Russia 
in the East/ Moser's * A Travers 1'Asie Centrale/ Lansdell's 
1 Russian Central Asia/ Boulger's ( England and Russia in 
Central Asia/ and * Central Asian Questions/ Marvin's works 
passim^ works under the heading ( Transcaspian Railway/ and 
Parliamentary Papers passim.) 


Bykovski, G. I. de. Le tour du monde en 66 jours, et de Londres et 

de Paris en 4 jours aux Indes par la Russie. Projet de la 

jonction des chemins de fer Europeans avec les chemins de fer 

de I'lnde. Paris : 1872. 

Cotard, Ch. Le chemin de fer Central- Asiatique. Paris : 1875. 
offdanovitch, E. Exposd de la question relative au chemin de fer 

de la Sib<*rie et de 1'Asie Centrale. Paris : 1875. 
Annenkoff, Gen. M. Akhal Tekinski Oazisipooti y Indiyou. (The 

Akhal Tekke Oasis and Routes to India.) St. Petersburg : 

Marvin, Ch. The Russian Railway to Herat and India. London : 



Afarvin, Ch. The Railway Race to Herat. An account of the 
Russian Railway to Herat and India. London : 1885. 

houlangier, E. Chemin de fer Transcaspien. (Revue du Gtkiie 
Militaire, March-June 1887.) Paris : 1887. 

Voyage a Merv. Les Russes dans 1'Asie Centrale et le 

chemin de fer Transcaspien. Paris : 1888. 

Cotteau, E. Voyage en Transcaspienne (July 24-Oct 11, 1887). 

Paris ; 1888. 
Vatalik, L Y. The Transcaspian Railway ; its meaning and its 

future. Translated by Lt.-Col. W. E. Gowan. 1888. 
lleyf elder, O. Transkaspien und seine Eisenbahn. Hanover : 

Ney, Napoleon. En Asie Centrale & la vapeur. Notes de voyage. 

Paris: 1888. 
Cholet, Comte de. Excursion en Turkestan et sur la frontiere 

Russo-Afghane. Paris : 1889. 

Vide also Ch. Marvin's 'The Russian Advance towards 

India,' chap. x. (London, 1882) ; ' The Russians at Merv and 

Herat/ Book iv. chap. iv. (London, 1883) ; and Major C. E. 

Yate's 'Northern Afghanistan,' chap, xxviii. (London, 1888). 


1. General Information. 

Elphinstone, Hon. M. An Account of the Kingdom of Cabul and 
its Dependencies in Persia, Tartary and India ; comprising a 
view of the Afghan nation, and a history of the Doorannes 
Monarchy. London : 1815, 1819, 1839. 

Dorn, Dr. B. History of the Afghans, translated from the Persian 
of Neamet Ullah. London : 1829, 1836. 

Jfohan, Lai. Journal of a Tour through the Panjab, Afghanistan, 
Turkestan, Khorasan, and Part of Persia, in Company with 
Lieutenant Burnes and Dr. Gerard. Calcutta : 1834. 

Life of the Amir Dost Mahommed Khan of Kabul, and 

His Political Proceedings towards the English, Russian, and 
Persian Governments, including the victory and disasters of 
the British Army in Afghanistan. 2 vols. London : 1846. 

Travels in the Panjab, Afghanistan and Turkestan to Balk, 

Bokhara, and Herat ; and a visit to Great Britain and 
Germany. London : 1846. 

Anonymous. Persia and Afghanistan. Analytical narrative and 
correspondence. London : 1839. 


Vtyne, G. T. Personal narrative of a visit to Ghuzni, Kabul, and, 

Afghanistan, and a residence at the Court of Dost Mohammed. 

London: 1840. 
Wilson, II. II. Ariaria Antiqua. Antiquities of Afghanistan. 

London: 1841, 1861. 

Jackson, Sir K* A. Views in Afghanistan. London : 1841. 
Moorcroft, W., and Trebeck, G. Travels in the Himalayan Provinces 

of Hindustan and the Panjab, in Ladakh and Kashmir, in 

Peshawar, Kabul, Kunduz and Bokhara from 1819 to 1825. 

(Prepared for press by H. H. Wilson.) 2 vols. London: 

Burnes, Sir A. Cabool : being a personal narrative of a journey 

to and residence in that city in the years 1836, 1837, 1838. 

London : 1842. 
Harlan, J. A memoir of India. and Atfghanistaun. Philadelphia : 

Hart, Capt. L. W. Character and Costumes of Afghanistan. London : 


Raymond X. Afghanistan. Paris: 1848. 
Ferrier, J. P. Caravan Journeys and Wanderings in Persia, 

Afghanistan, Turkestan, and Beloochistan, with Historical 

notices of the countries lying between Russia and India. 

Translated by W. Jesse ; edited by H. D. Seymour. London : 

1856, 1857, 

History of the Afghans, translated from the original 

unpublished MS. by W. Jesse. London : 1858. 

Jacob, General J. The Views and Opinions of, collected and edited 
by Captain L. Pelly. Bombay : 1858. London : 1858. 

Hellfiw, H. W. Journal of a Political Mission to Afghanistan in 
1857 under Major (now Colonel) Lumsden. London : 1862. 

From the Indus to the Tigris. A narrative of a journey 

through the countries of Balochistan, Afghanistan, Khorassan, 
and Iran in 1872, together with Synoptical Grammar and 
Vocabulary of the Brahoe Language. London : 1873, 1874. 

Afghanistan and the Afghans j being a brief review' of the 

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The Races of Afghanistan ; being a brief account of the 
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Aitchison, (7. U. Collection of Treaties, Engagements, and Sunnuds 
relating to India and neighbouring countries 8 vols. Cal- 
cutta : 1862-1866. 


Adye, Col. J. Si tan a ; a mountain Campaign in Afghanistan (1863). 

London: 1867. 
Grigorieff, V. V. Geography of Central Asia. Kabulistan and 

Kafiristari (Russian). St. Petersburg : 1867. 

The Bamian Route to Kabulistan from the Valley of the 

Oxus (translated by R. Michell). 1878. 

Atkinson, E. T. Statistical, descriptive, and historical account of 
the North-west Provinces of India. 5 vols. (Articles on 
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Malleson, Col. O. B. History of Afghanistan, from the Earliest 
Period to the Outbreak of the War of 1878. London : 1878. 

Argyll, Duke of. The Eastern Question, from the Treaty of Paris, 
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War. 2 vols. London and Edinburgh : 1879. 

The Afghan Question, from 1841 to 1878. (Reprinted 

from The Eastern Question.) London and Edinburgh : 1879. 

Anonymous. Afghanistan and the Afghans. London : 1879. 

Mayer, S. JR. and Paget, J. C. Afghanistan, its political and 
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Raverty, Major II. G. Notes on Afghanistan and Part of Balu- 
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Wheeler, J. T. A Short History of India and of Afghanistan. 
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Northbrook, Earl of. A Brief Account of Recent Transactions in 
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Walker, P. F. Afghanistan. London : 1 vol. 1881, 2 vols. 1885. 

Savile, B. W. How India was Won : with a chapter on Afghanis- 
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Yavorski, Dr. J. L. Reise der russischen Gesandtschaft in 
Afghanistan und Buchara in den Jahren 1878-1879. Aus 
dem Russischen iibersetzt und mit Anmerkungen versehen 
von E. Petri. 2 vols. Jena : 1885. 

The Russian Mission to Kabul. (Translated from the 

Russian by R. Michell.) 

Mariotti, A. Etudes sur r Afghanistan. Paris : 1885. 

Broadfoot, W. The Career of Major George Broadfoot in Afghanis- 
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Lords EUenborough and HarJinge. London : 1888. 


2. Anglo-Afghan Wars. 

FIRST AFGHAN WAR (1838-1842.) 

Ilavelock, Sir H. Narrative of the War in Afghanistan in 1838 

and 1839. 2 vols. London : 1840. 
Hough, Major W. A narrative of the march and operations of the 

Army of the Indus in the Expedition to Afghanistan 1838-9. 

Calcutta : 1840 : London : 1841. 
Atkinson, J. The Expedition into Afghanistan; Notes and Sketches 

descriptive of the country contained in a personal narrative 

during the campaign of 1839 and 1840. London : 1842. 

Sketches in Afghanistan. 2 vols. London: 1842. 

Dennie, CoL W. H. Personal narrative of the Campaigns in 

Afghanistan. Dublin: 1843. 
Kale, Lady. A Journal of the disasters in Afghanistan, 1841-2. 

London : 1843. 
Taylor, Major W. Scenes and Adventures in Afghanistan. London : 

Allen, Rev. I. N. Diary of a march through Sindeand Afghanistan 

with the troops under General Nott. London : 1843. 
Anonymous. History of the war in Afghanistan, taken from the 

Journal and Letters of an officer high in rank and edited by 

C. Nash. London : 1843. 
Lushington, H. A Great Country's Little Wars, or England, 

Afghanistan, and Sinde. London, 1844. 
Greenwood, Lieut. J. Narrative of the Campaign in Afghanistan. 

London : 1844. 

Qleig, G. R. Sale's Brigade in Afghanistan. London : 1846, 1861. 
Stocquelsr, J. II. Memorials of Afghanistan ; State Papers illus- 
trative of British Expedition to Afghanistan and Scinde between 

the years 1838 and 1842. Calcutta : 1843. 
Stacy, Col. L. JR. Services in Belochistan and Afghanistan, 1840-2. 

London: 1848. 
Kaye, Sir J. W. History of the War in Afghanistan, 'from the 

unpublished letters and journals of political and military 

officers employed in Afghanistan. (1851 edition, 2 vols. The 

remaining editions 3 vols.) London : 1851, 1857, 1858, 1874, 

Lives of Indian officers. London : 2 vols. 1867, 1869. 

3 vols. 1880. 
Eyre, Lieut. V. The military operations at Cabul, which ended 


in the retreat and destruction of the British army in January 

1842, with a journal of imprisonment in Afghanistan. 

London : 1843. 
Eyre, Lieut. V. The Kabul Insurrection of 1841-1842. (Revised and 

corrected from Lieut. Eyre's original MS. by Major-General Sir 

Vincent Eyre, edited by Col. G. B. Malleson.) London : 1879. 
Eyre, Maj.-Gen. Sir F. A retrospect of the Afghan war with 

reference to passing events in Central Asia. London : 1869. 
Edwardes, Sir II., and Merirnle, If. Life of Sir Henry Lawrence. 

Londpn : 1873. 

Morris, Mowbray. The First Afghan War. London : 1878. 
Durand, Gen. Sir H. M. The First Afghan War and its Causes. 

London: 1879. 
Abbott, Gen. Aug. The Afghan War, 1838-1842, from the journal 

and correspondence of ; by Charles Rathbone Low. London : 

Pollock, Field Marshal Sir G. Life and Correspondence of, by C. 

R. Low. London : 1873. 
Smith R., Bosworth. Life of Lord Lawrence. 2 vols. London : 


SECOND AFGHAN WAR (l873-l88o). 

Robinson, P. Cabul or Afghanistan, the seat of the Anglo-Russian 
Qaestion. London : 1878. 

Causes of the Afghan war. A selection of the papers laid 

before Parliament, with a connecting narrative and comment. 
London : 1879. 

Le Messurier, Major A, Kandahar in 1879. London : 1880, 

Ashe, Major W. Personal Records of the Kandahar Campaign, by 
officers engaged therein. Edited and annotated, with an intro- 
duction by Major A. London : 1881. 

Colquhoun, Major J. A. S. With the Kurrum Field Force in the 
Caubul Campaign of 1878-79. London : 1881. 

Hensman, H. The Afghan War of 1879-1880. London : 1881. 

Mitford, R. C .W. To Cabul with the Cavalry Brigade. London ; 

Kdliprasanna, De. The Life of Sir Louis Cavagnari, with a brief 
outline of the Second Afghan War. Calcutta : 1881. 

Le Marclwmd, G. Campagne des Anglais dans T Afghanistan, 1878- 
1879. (Reunion des Officiers.) Paris : 1879. 

Deuxi&me campagne Anglais dans 1' Afghanistan (1879- 

1880). (Reunion des Officiers.) Paris : 1881, 


Robertson, C. O. Kurum, Kabul, and Kandahar. Three campaigns 
under General Roberts. Edinburgh : 1881. 

Elliott, W.J. The Victoria Cross in Afghanistan, 1877-80. London: 

Soboleff, Gen. L. M. Stranitsa eez istoriee vostotchnago voprosa ; 
Anglo- Afghanskaya rasprya. Otcberk voinee 1879-1880. (A 
page from the History of the Eastern Question ; the Anglo- 
Afghan conflict. A sketch of the War of 1879-1880.) 3 vols. 
St. Petersburg : 1882. 

Shadbolt, S. H. The Afghan Campaigns, of 1878-1880. Compiled 
from official and private sources. 2 vols. London : 1882. 

Duke, J. Recollections of the Kabul Campaign, 1 879-1880. London : 

Low, C. R. Sir Frederick Roberts. A Memoir. London : 1883. 

Thomsett, R. G. Kohat, Kurum, and Khost ; or, Experiences and 
Adventures in the late Afghan War. London : 1884. 

Vide also MacGregor's ' Life and Opinions/ London : 1881. 

3. The Afghan Frontier Question. 

SJwwers, C. L. The Central Asian Question. London : 1873. 

The Central Asian Question and the Massacre of the Cabul 

Embassy. London : 1879 

The Cossack at the Gate of India. London : 1885. 

Thorburn, 8. S. Bunnu : or, Our Afghan Frontier. London : 

Lohren, A. Afghanistn.ii oder die englische Handelspolitik in Indien, 

beleuchtet vom Standpunkte deutscher Handels-Interessen. 

Potsdam : 1878. 
Crealocke, .H. If. The Eastern Question and the Foreign Policy of 

Great Britain. A series of papers from 1870-1878. London : 

Fisher, F. H. Afghanistan and the Central Asian Question. 

London : 1878. 
0. K. (Olga Novikoff, n& Kiryeeff). Is Russia Wrong ? Series of 

letters by a Russian lady. Preface by J. A. Froude. London: 

Russia and England from 1875-1880. A Protest and an 

Appeal. Preface by J. A. Froude. London : 1880. 
Andrew, Sir W. P. India and her Neighbours. London ; 1878. 

Our Scientific Frontier. London : 1879, 1880. 

Campbell, Sir G. The Afghan Frontier. London : 1879. 


Matteson, CoL G. B. Herat : The Granary and Garden of Central 
Asia. London : 1S80. 

The Russo- Afghan Question and the Invasion of India. 

London: 1885. 

Bertacchi, C. L' Afghanistan nel confiitto eventuale fra 1'Inghil- 

terra e la Russia. Torino : 1880. 
Vyse, G. W. Southern Afghanistan and the N.W. Frontier of India. 

London : 1881. 
Frere, Sir H. Bartle. Afghanistan and South Africa. Letter to 

Rt. Hon. W. E. Gladstone regarding portions of Midlothian 

Speeches. Letter also to late Sir J. Kay a London : 1881. 
Marvin, Ch. The Russians at Merv and Herat, and their Power of 

Invading India. London : 1883. 

Russia's Power of Seizing Herat. London : 1884. 

The Russians at the Gate of Herat, fec. London : 1885. 

Russia's Power of Attacking India. London : 1886. 

Shall Russia have Penjdeh ? London : 1885. 

Beylit, L. de. L'Inde sera-t-elle russe ou anglaise ? Paris : 1884. 
Simond, C. L* Afghanistan. Les Russes aux portes de 1'Inde. 

Paris : 1885. 
Hue, F. Les Russes et lea Anglais dans r Afghanistan. Paris : 

Rodenbough, T. F. Afghanistan and the Anglo- Russian Dispute. 

New York and London : 1885. 
Jerningham, H. E. Russia's Warnings, collected from official 

papers. London : 1885. 
Paget, Col. W. H., and Mason, Lieut. A. H. Record of Expeditions 

against the North- West Frontier Tribes since the annexation of 

the Punjab. (Published by authority.) Calcutta : 1885. 
Anonymous. Russia's Next Move towards India. By an old cam- 
paigner who knows the country. London : 1885. 
Russell, R. India's Danger and England's Duty. The history of 

the Russian advance upon Afghanistan. London : 1885. 
Roskoschny, H. von. Afghanistan und seine Nachbarlander. Der 

Schauplatz des jiingsten russisch-englischen Konflikts in 

Centralasien. 2 vols. Leipzig; 1885-6. 

Bartlett, E. A., M.P. Shall England keep India ? London : 1886. 
Grant-Duff, Sir M. E. The Afghan Policy of the Beaoonsfield 

Government and its results. London : 1886. 
Barthtlemy St.-Hilaire, J. L'Inde anglaise, son etafc actuel, son 

avenir. Pr&e*de* d'une introduction sur I'Angleterre et la 

Russie. Paris: 1887. 


Yate> Lieut. A. C. England and Russia Face to Face in Aria ; 
Travels with the Afghan Boundary Commission. Edinburgh : 

Yate, Major C. E. Northern Afghanistan, or Letters from the 
Afghan Boundary Commission. Edinburgh : 1888. 

Valbert, M. G. Les Afghans et la question indo-russe d'apres 
deux voyages fran^ais. Paris : 1888. 

Kuhlberg, Col. Raboty Afghanskoi razgranich-itelnoi Komissii i 
nasha Novaya granitsa s Afghanistanom. (t Work of the 
Afghan Boundary Commission and our new frontiers with 
Afghanistan/) Tiflis : 1888. 

Darmesteter, J. Lettres sur Tlnde a la frontiere afghane. Paris : 

MacGregor, Sir C. M. Life and Opinions. Edited by Lady Mac- 
Gregor. 2 vols. London : 1888. 

Vide also works on the Central Asian Question under sub- 
heading 2 of Central Asia in General, Boulger's * Central Asian 
Question,' Lansdell's 'Through Central Asia/ and Parlia- 
mentary Papers passim. 

4. Beluchistan. 

Pottinger, Sir H. Travels in Baloochistaii and Sinde, accompanied 
by a geographical and historical account of those countries, 
with a map. London : 1816. 

Masson, C. Narrative of various journeys in Baloochistan, Afghan- 
istan, and the Punjab, including a residence in those countries 
from 1826 to 1838. 3 vols. London : 1842. 4 vols. 1844. 

Narrative of a Journey to Kalat, and a memoir on E. 

Baloochistan. London : 1843. 

Stacy, Col. L. R. Narrative of Services in Beloochistan and 

Afghanistan in 1840-42. London : 1848. 
Dubeux L. et Valmont V. Tartarie, B&outchistan, Boutan et Nepal. 

Paris: 1848. 
Floyer, E. A. Unexplored Beluchistan. A survey' of a route 

through Mekran, Bashkurd, Persia, Kurdistan, and Turkey. 

London : 1862. 

The same, with a Preface by Sir F, J. Goldsmid. London : 

Hughes, A. W. The Country of Baloohistan, its Geography, Topo- 
graphy, Ethnology, an History. London : 1877. 


MaeGregor, Sir C. M. Wanderings in Baloochistan. London : 1882, 
( Vide also Ferrier's * Caravan Journeys,' Goldsmid's ' Eastern 
Persia/ A. C. Yate's 'Travels with the Afghan Boundary Com- 
mission/ and Parliamentary Papers.) 

5. Euphrates Valley Railway. 

Ghesney, Col. F. R. The Expedition for the Survey of the Rivers 
Euphrates and Tigris in 1835, 1836, 1837. Preceded by geo- 
graphical and historical notices of the regions between the 
Rivers Nile and Indus. 2 vols. London : 1850. 

Narrative of the Euphrates Expedition carried on by order 

of the British Government during 1835, 1836, 1837. London : 

Life of, by his wife and daughter. Edited by S. Lane- 

Poole. London : 1885. 

Andrew, Sir W. P. The Scinde Railway and its relation to the 
Euphrates Valley and other routes to India. London : 1856. 

Euphrates Valley Route to India, in connection with the 

Central Asian and Egyptian Questions. London : 1857, 1873, 

Cameron, Com. V. L. Our Future Highway (i.e. the Euphrates 
Valley). 2 vols. London : 1880. 

Ainaworth, W. F. A Personal Narrative of the Euphrates Expedi- 
tion. 2 vols. London : 1888. 


Wahl, F. S. Gttnther. Altes und neues Vorder- und Mittel-Asieu, 
oder pragmatisch-geographische, fysische und statistische Schil- 
derung und Geschichte des Perseisen Reichs, von den altesten 
Zeiten bis auf diesenTag. Vol. 1. Leipzig : 1795. 

Olivier, G. A. Voyage dans 1'Empire Othoman, TEgypte, et la Perse. 
6 vols. Paris : 1801. 

Waring, Major E. S. A tour to Sheeraz, &c., with various remarks 
on the manners, <fec.,.of the Persians. London ; 1807. 

Morier, J. P. A Journey through Persia, Armenia, and Asia 
Minor to Constantinople in the years 1808-1809. London ; 

, A Second Journey through Persia, Armenia, and Asia 

Minor to Constantinople, between the years 1810-1816. 
London: 1818. 


Morier, J. P. The Adventures of Haji Baba of Ispahan. London : 

1824, 1828, 1856, 1863. 
Kinneir, J. M. Geographical memoir of the Persian Empire. 

London: 1813. 

Journey through Asia Minor, Armenia, Koordistan in 

1813-14. London : 1818. 

Geographical memoir of Persia. London : 1813. 

Jourdain, A. La Perse ; ou tableau de 1'histoire du gouvernement, 

&c., de cet empire. 5 vols. Paris : 1814. 
Malcolm, Sir J. The History of Persia from the most early period 

to the present time. 2 vols. London : 1815, 1829. 

Sketches of Persia from the Journals of a Traveller in the 

East. 2 vols. London : 1827, 1861. 

General Sketches of Persia. (Cassell's National Library.) 

London : 1886, 1888. 
Kaye, Sir J. W. The Life and Correspondence of Sir John Malcolm. 

2 vols. London : 1856. 
Ouxeley, Sir W. Travels in various Coun tries ", of ^the East ; more 

particularly Persia. 3 vols. London : 1819/1823. 
Kotzvbue, M. von. Narrative of a Journey into Persia. Translated 

from the German. London : 1819, 1820. 
Porter, Sir R. K. Travels in Georgia, Persia, Armenia, Ancient 

Babylonia, <fec., from 1817-1820. 2 vols. London : 1821- 

Lnmsden, T. A Journey from Merut in India to London,~through 

Arabia, Persia, Armenia, Georgia, Russia, Austria, &c., in 1819 

and 1820. London : 1822. 
SKerley, Sir A., Sir 2\, and Sir R. Travels'! and Adventures in 

Persia, Russia, Turkey, <fec. London : 1825. 
Frwter, J. B. Narrative of a Journey into Khorasan in 1821 and 

1822, including some account of the countries to the North- East 

of Persia. London : 1825. 
. Travels and Adventures in the Persian Provinces on the 

Southern Banks of the Caspian Sea. With appendix contain- 
ing short notices on*the~Geology and ^Commerce of Persia. 

London : 1826. 

i The Persian Adventurer. 3 vols. London : 1830. 

,* An Historical andTDescriptive Account of Persia from the 

earliest ages to the present time f including an account of 

Afghanistan and Beloochistan, 1 834. Edinburgh : 1 834. New 

York: 1843, 
Winter Journey from Constantinople to Tehran, with 


Travels through various parts of Persia. 2 vols. London : 

Prater, J. B. Narrative of the Persian Princes in London. 2 vols. 
London: 1838. 

Travels in Koordistaii, Mesopotamia, <fcc., including an 

account of parts of those countries hitherto unvisited by Euro- 
peans. 2 vols. London : 1840. 

Alexander, Lieut. J. E. Travels from India to England, comprising 

a Journey through Persia, etc., in 1825-6. London : 1827. 
Keppel, Hon. G. Personal Narrative of a Journey from India to 

England, by Bussorah, Bagdad, Curdistan, the Court of Persia, 

etc. London : 1827. 
Buckingham, J. S. Travels in Assyria, Media, and Persia. 2 vols. 

London: 1830. 
Stocqueler, J. H. Fifteen Months' Pilgrimage through untrodden 

Tracts in Khuzistaii and Persia in 1831-32, in a Journey from 

India to England, through parts of Turkish Arabia, Armenia, 

Russia, and Germany. 2 vols. London : 1832. 
Brydges, Sir H. J. The Dynasty of the Kajars. Translated from 

an Oriental Persian MS. ; to which is prefixed a succinct account 

of the History of Persia. London : 1833. 
. Account of the Transactions of H.M. Mission to the Court 

of Persia in 1807-11. 2 vols. London : 1834. 
. A Letter on the Present State of British Interests in Persia. 

London : 1838. 
Rich, C. J. Narrative of a Residence in Koordistan, etc., with an 

account of a visit to Shirauz and Persepolis. 2 vols. London : 


Narrative of Journey to Babylon and Persepolis. London : 


Southgate, JBp. H. Tour through Armenia, Kurdistan, etc. 2 vols. 

London : 1840. 

Fowler, G. Three Years in Persia. 2 vols. London: 1841. 
Perkins, Ren. J. Eight Years' Residence in Persia among the 

Nestorian Christians. Andover, U.S. : 1843. 
JDe Bode, Baron. Travels in Luristan and Arabistan. 2 vols. 

London : 1845. 

Kitto, J. The People of Persia. London : 1849, 1851. 
Jflaridin, E. Voyage en Perse. 2 vols. Paris : 1851. 
Stuart, Col. W. K* Journal of a Residence in N. Persia and the 

adjacent Provinces of Turkey. London : 1854. 
Soltykoff, Prince A. Voyage en Perse. Paris : 1854. 

H H 


Shell, Lady. Glimpses of Lfife and Manners in Persia. With notes 
on Russia, Koords, Toorkonmns, Nestorians, Khiva, and Persia. 
London: 1856. 

Wagner, M. Travels in Persia, Georgia, and Koordistan. (From 
the German.) 3 vols. London : 1856. 

Binning, ,J?. B. Journal of Two Years' Travel in Persia, Ceylon. 

&c. 2 vols. London : 1857. 

. Chawpollion-Fiyeac, J. J. Histoire des peupdes anciens et modernes. 
La Perse, Paris : 1857. 

Shepherd* W+ A- From Bombay to Bushireand Bussora. Including 
an account of the Present State of Persia,, and Notes on the 
Persian war. London : 1857. 

ffunt, Capt. G. H< Outram and Havelock's Persian Campaign. To 
which is prefixed a Summary of Persian History, an account of 
various differences between England and Persia, and an inquiry 
into the origin of the late War, by G. Tbwnsend. London : 

Oivtram, Sir J. Persian Campaigns in 1857. London : 1860. 
,!obineau, Comte J. A. de. Trois ans en Asie (1855-8). Paris : 

Histoire des Perses. 2 vols. Paris : 1869. 

,Jo8twiek, JS. B. Journal of a Diplomate's Three Years' Residence 
in Persia. 2 vols. London : 1864, 

Polqk, J. E- Persien, das Land und seine Bewohz*er r 2 vols. 
Leipzig : 1865. 

. Ifsshwi J. A Journey f rona London t Persepolis> including Wander- 
ings in Daghestan, Georgia, Armenia, Kurdistan^ Mesopotamia, 
and Persia. London : 1865. 

Watson, R. Grant. A History of Persia from the beginning of the 
19th Century to the year 1858. With a review of the prin- 
cipal events- that led to the establishment of the Kajah dynasty. 
London: 1866. 

Tambery^ Arm* Heine Wanderungen und Erlebnisse in Persien. 
Pest.: 1367. 

Marsh, D. W. The Tennessean m Persia and Koordistaiu Phila- 
delphia : 1869. 

Mounaey, A. ff. A Journey through the Caucasus, and the Interior 
of Persia.- London : 1872. 

e^ Gen. Sir A. T, Travels in the Eastern Caucasus, on 
t^e Caspian and Black Seas, especially in Daghestan, and on 
the frontiers of Persia and Turkey* during 1871. London ; 


Khanikoff, N. de. Meshid ; la citta santa e il suo territorio. 

Viaggi in Persia. 1873. 

Brittlebank, W. Persia during the Famine. London : 1873. 
Braithwaite, R. The Kingdom of the Shah ; a descriptive and 

historical sketch of Persia. London : 1873. 
Piggot, 7. Persia, ancient and modern. London : 1874. 
Markham, C. R. A general Sketch of the History of Persia^ 

London : 1874. 
Goldsmid, Sir F. J. Telegraph and Naval : a Narrative -of the 

Formation and Development of Telegraphic Communication 

between England and India, under the orders of Her Majesty's 

Government, with incidental notices of the countries traversed 

by the Lines. London : 1874. 
Eastern Persia : An Account of the Journeys of the Persian 

Boundary Commission, 1870, 1871, 1872. Vol. i. The Geo 

graphy, with Narratives by Majors St. John and Lovett, and Euan 

Smith, and edited, with an Introduction, by Sir F. J. Goldsmid. 

Vol. ii. The Zoology and Geology by W. T. Blanford. London : 


James Outrain : A Biography. 2 vols. London : 1880. 

Thielmann, Baron Max von. A Journey in the Caucasus, Persia, 

&c. Translated from the German. 2 vols. London : 1875. 
Baker, Col. VaL Clouds in the East. Travels and Adventures oil 

the Perso-Turkoman Frontier. London : 1876, 1878. 
Arnold, Arthur. Through Persia by Caravan. 2 vols. London : 

Marsh, Cape. H. C. A Bide, through Islam ; being a Journey 

through Persia and Afghanistan to India, vid Meshed, Herat, 

and Kandahar. London : 1877. 
MacGregor, Sir C. M. Narrative of a Journey through the Pro^- 

vince of Khorassan, and on. the N.W. Frontier of Afghanistan, 

in 1875. 2 vols. London : 1879, 

Ballantine, H. Midnight Marches through Persia. Boston: 1879, 
Anderson, T. S* My Wanderings in Persia. London : 1880. 
Osmaston, J. Old Ali ; or Travels Long Ago. London : 188L 
Fogg, W. P. Travels and Adventures in Arabistan. London : 

Anonymous. Aus Persien, Aufzeichnungen eines Oesterreichers 

Wien: 1882, 

Stack, E. Six Months in Persia. 2 vok. London : 1882, 
Serena, C. Hommes et choses en Perse, Paris : 1883. 
Wills, C. J. In the Land of the Lion and Sun ; or Modern Persia; 

H H 3 


being Experiences of Life in Persia from 1866-1881. London : 

Wills, C. J. Persia as it is. Being Sketches of Modern Life and 

Character. London : 1886. 
Or so lie, IS. Le Caucase et la Perse. Ouvrage accompagn d'une 

carte et d'un plan. Paris : 1885. 
Stolze, F., and Andreas, F. C. Die Handelsverhaltnisse Persiens. 

(Petermann's Mitteilungen, 1884-5.) Gotha : 1885. 
Radde, Dr. G. Reisen an der Persisch-russischen Grenze. Taiysch 

und seine Bewohner. Leipzig : 1886. 
Hassett, J. Persia. The Land of the Imams. A Narrative of Travel 

and Residence, 1871-1885. New York : 1886. London : 

Benjamin, S. G. W* Persia. Story of the Nations. London: 1886, 


Persia and the Persians. London : 1887. 

Arbnthnot, F. F. Persian Portraits. A Sketch of Persian History 
Literature, and Politics. London : 1887. 

Binder, H. Au Kurdistan, en Mesopotamie et en Perse. Ouvrage 
illustre* de 200 dessins d'apres les photographies et croquis de 
Pauteur. Paris : 1 887. 

Layard, Sir A. //. Early Adventures in Persia, Susiana, and Baby- 
lonia, including a Residence among the Bakhtiari and other 
wild tribes. 2 vols. London : 1887. 

Noldeke, Th. Aufsatze zur Persischen Geschichte. 1887. 

Gutschmid, A. V. Geschichte Irans. 1888. 

Dieulqfoy, Mme, J. La Perse, la Chaldde, et la Susiane. Relation 
de voyage, Paris : 1887. 

A Suse. Journal de fouilles, 1884-6. Paris : 1888. 

Stevens, Thoa. Around the World on a Bicycle. 2 vols. London : 


(Vide also Selection from Early Travels ; Conolly's * Over- 
land Journey to India ; ' Mitford's * Land March to Ceylon ; ' 
Rawlinson's ( England and Russia in the East ; ' O'Donovan's 
' Merv Oasis ; ' Marvin's ' Merv ; ' Moser's * A travers 1'Asie 
Centrale ; ' Bonvalot's * Through the Heart of Asia ; ' and Par- 
liamentary Papers passim.) 



ABBOTT, Major J., 4, 111, 188 
Abdul Ahad, vide Bokhara, Amir 


Abdul Melik, 158 
Abdullah Khan, 163, 164, 237 
Abdurrahman Khan, 123-5, 232, 

330, 350-1, 355-6, 858-9, 861-2, 

865, 366, 867, 869 
Abramoff, General, 292, 829 
Afghanistan, 99, 128, 252, 265, 

267, 284, 295, 297, 826, 828, 

330-1, 862 
- trade with, 280-5 

British officers in, 868-70 

partition of, 360-1 
Afghans, the, 114, 172, 249, 263 
Afghan wars, 811, 827, 357-8, 368 

frontier, 322, 344,348-9, 350-5, 

history, 356-8 

army, 861-2, 868 

independence, 364-6 

.Turkestan, 124-5, 149, 232, 
252, 264, 275, 283, 297, 303, 
806, 807, 329, 843 

Afrasiab, 162, 235 

Afridis, the, 863, 372 

Aidin, 54 

Akbar the Great, 219, 228 

Akoha, 282 

Akhal Tekke oasis, 71, 73, 96, 

Alexander the Great, 110, 136, 

144, 161, 293 
Alexander I., 325 


Alexander III., 23, 117, 138, 280, 

Alikhanoff, Colonel, 42, 106, 112, 
114, 118, 122, 125-7, 129, 310, 
358, 865, 392 

Alp Arslan, 110, 1,46, 182 

Amu Daria, the, vide Oxus 

station, 61, 298 

province, 252-8, 254, 255, 

257, 404, 411 

Andkui, 149, 165, 275, 282, 344, 

Annenkoff, General, 1, 5> 18, 18, 
27, 38, 39, 41, 42, 44, 52, 54, 60, 
103, 106, 108, 143, 146, 158, 
215, 233, 264, 267, 271, 274, 
277-8, 291, 298, 310, 812, 387, 
899, 405-6, 408, 411 

Aral Sea, the, 69, 238, 255 

Araxes, the, 374 

Arba, 167 

Architecture, Arabian, 223-4 

Arman Sagait, 94 

Armenians, the, 96, 97, 106, 114, 

Arnold, M., quoted, 144 

Artik, 100 

Asia, Central, vide Central Asia 

Askabad, 44, 58, 61, 66, 83, 98-4, 
96-9, 101, 265, 271, 278, 275, 
281, 288, 292, 298, 298, 802, 
818, 326, 342, 875, 400, 429 

Astrabad, 287, 304, 824 

Astrakhan, 64, 299, 824 

Atek oasis, 71, 100, 102, 252, 802 




Atrek, the, 88, 96 

Attock, 846 

Austria, feeling towards, in Russia, 


Ayub Khan, 859 
Azerbaijan, 287, 288 

BABA DURMAZ, 100, 818 

Baba Khan, 182 

Baber Sultan, 211 

Badakshan, 829, 842, 858, 860 

Bagdad, ,878 

Bahmi, 76, 89 

Baieff, M., 78 

Bairain Ali, 116, 185, 187 

Baisun, 159 

Baker, Colonel VaL, 4, 101, 883 

Baku, SO, 62, 181, 1&8, 277, 281, 

288, 289, 294, 299, 800, 429 
Bala Ishem, 54 

Murghab, 844 
Balkan Bay, 404 
Balkans, the Great, 68 

the Little, 68 

Balkh, 262, 806, 808, 820, 880, 

841, 848, 84&-9, 860, 868-9, 871 
Bamian, A 262, 806, 880, 848 
Barkhut Pass, 266 
Barogil Pass, 842 
Batchas, 200 
Batoum, 16, 285, 289 
Baz Girha, 98 
Bazoff General, 400 
Beaconsneld, Earl of, 121, 857, 

Boluchistan, 44, 50, 270, 820, 884, 

8CB, 877, 879 

Bender Abbas, 99, 287, 880 
Berlin Treaty, 292, 816, 827 
Bibi Khanym, 218, 224-5, 229 
Bielinski, M., 146 
Black Sea, steamboat service, 8 
Bogdanovitch, M., 260 
Bokhara, 9, 48, 56, 61, 99, 109, 

110, 122, 149, 151, 158-204, 214, 
252, 254, 266, 278, 274, 278-9, 

806, 823, 842; 405, 480 
^ Ami? of, 152, 155, 15ft, 159-60, 

215, 274 

Russian town, 154-5 
u population of, 171-5 
Bokharan women, 175 


Bokharan buildings, 175, 186 

prison, 184-5 

bazaar, 185, 189 

currency, 188-9 

trade, 189-92, 202,256,281-2, 

court and army, 198-200 

irrigation, 206-9 
Bokhariots, the, 49, 50, 06, 114, 

115, 119, 154, 157, 249, 896 
Bolan railway, the, 44, 50, 846 
Bonvalot, Gabriel, 119, 159, 184, 

840-1, 8G6, 480 
Bosaga, 264, 848 
Boulangier, Edgar, 46, 47, 81-2 
Bourdalik, 264 
Brende, J., 141 
British, the, feeling towards, in 

Russia, 25 

officers in Afghanistan, vide 

Buchanan, Sir A., 215 
Bujnurd, 286, 287, 874 
Burnaby, Capt. F., 4, 111, 887 
Burnes, Sir A., 4, 110, 145, 165, 

178, 182 
Bushire, 99, 287, 878, 880 

CASPIAN SEA, the, 8, 80, 56, 68, 71, 

275, 28G, 294, 298, 299, 303, 809, 

329, 374 
marine, 800 
Catherine, Empress, 324 
Caucasus, the, 28, 299, 844 
Cavagnari, Sir L M 868 
Central Asia, 9 et passim 

Asian railway, 85-7 

climate, 75, 118, 218 

scenery, 189, 140, 228-30 

trade, 99, 189-91, 277-91 

population, 252-8 

Chaman, 269, 296, 846 

Charvilayet, 282 

Chihil Dukhtaran, 296 

Chinese, the, 887, 410 

Chita, 268 

Chitral, 297, 829, 841, 842 

Cholet, Comte de, 8, 117, 865, 


Clarendon, {Earl of, 82$ f 
Clavyo, Doil Buy de, 14$J, 212, 224, 





Climate, vide Central Asia 
Clubs, Russian military, 109, 246 
Colonisation, Russian, 408-11 
Commerce, vide Afghanistan, 

Bokhara, Central Asia, Persia, 

and Turkestan 
Conolly, Capt. A., 8, 110, 165, 179, 


Constantinople, 288, 321-8 
Cotard, M., 85 
Cotton plantation, 115, 116, 118, 

'241, 254, 263, 278, 405-7 
Crassus, 110 
Critt, The'o, 812 
Czar, the, vide Alexander III. 

DARIUS, 109 
Darwaza, 380 
Dastarkhan, 169, 201 
De'cauville railway, 40, 58 
Denghil Tepe, 87, 79, 82, 85, vide 

also Geok Tepe 
Dera Ghazi Khan, 346 
Dereguez, 287, 874 
Dervishes, 177 

Dilke, Sir C., Ill, 271, 308, 350 
Divan Begi of Bokhara, 179, 195, 


Dolgorouki, Prince, 875 
Dost Mohammed, 325, 856, 357, 

358, 368 
Dufferin, Marquis of, 841, 351, 


Duhamel, General, 325 
Duranis, the, 363 
Dilshak, 100, 102, 266, 808, 844 

EDUCATION, Native, 242, 243, 894 

Ernralis, the, vide Turkomans 

Enzeli lagoon, 375 

Erivan, 289, 407 

Ersaris, the, vide Turkomans 

Euphrates Valley Railway, 878 

FA&RAH, 268,' 824, 388 
Ferghana, 252-8, 264, 256, 257, 

292, 829, 842, 406 
Foreign Office Reports quoted, 

189, 278, 280, 286, 287, 288, 290, 



Fort Alexandrovsk, 96 

France, feeling towards, in Russia, 


French in Central Asia, the, 5 
Frere, Sir Bartle, 369 
Frontier question, vide Afghani* 

stan, and India 

GARBKH, Colonel, 164 
Gasteiger Khan, General, 98 
G<5me, M. do St., 824 
Geok Tepe, 10, 37, 41, 72, 76-8, 

111, 128, 131, 278, 298, 298, 802, 

318, 328 
siege and capture of, 78-85, 

97, 386, 396 
Gerard, Dr. J., 165 
Germans, the, 114, 171 
Germany, dislike of, in Russia, 21, 

22, 23 : 

Ghilzais, the, 50, 359, 368, 873 
Ghurian, 268 
Ghuzni, 340, 848, 352 
Giaour Kala, 135 
Gilgit, 297 
Girishk, 380 

Gladstone, Mr., 822-3, 358 
Gloukhovskoe, General, 80, 404 
Gomul Pass, 845, 846 
Gortchakoff, Pririce, 215, 319, 826 
Gowan, Colonel W, E., 7 
Granvilie, Earl, 86, 326 
Greeks, the, 114 
Grigorieff, Professor, 164-5 
Grodekoff, General, 11, 42, 77, 88, 

84-5, 119, 129, 302, 828, 885, 


Grotengelm, General, 329 
Gulistan, 380 
Gur Amir, vide Tamerlane, tomb 


Gur Djemal, 132 
Gwadur, 380 
Gyaurs, 100 
Gypsies, the, 249 

HAIDAHOFF, Colonel, 81 
Hazaras, the, 363 
Helmund, the, 294, 803, 804, 821, 




Herat, 120, 262, 205, 207-8, 284, 
298, 294, 290, 298, 804, 807, 
818, 821, 824, 825, 842, 844, 
847-9, 852, 857, 860, 865, 877, 

Heri Bud, the, 102, 128, 260, 800, 
874 ; vide also Tejend 

Heyfelder, Dr. O., 40, 59, 82, 86, 
155, 160, 190, 194-7 

Hindu Kush, the, 145, 292, 294, 
842, 860, 872 

Hindus, the, 172, 249 

Hiouen Tsang, 211 

Hissar, 159 

Hodjent, 242 

Hogg, Reynold, 165 

Homo, Colonel, 801 

Humayun, 228 

Hurnai Pass, 846 

IBN HAUKAL, 113, 152, 212 
Igdi wells, 404 
Ignatieff, General, 85 
Imam Baba, 298 
India, Russian designs upon, 11 
14, 819-84, 841-9 

illusions about, 884-41 

invasion of, 297, 806-7 

British rule in, 888-40,886-7, 

Indian frontier, 18, 888, 845-7 
trade, 280, 284, 285 

army, 808, 885 
Irbit, 256 
Irkutsk, 268 

Is-hak Khan, 19, 122-5, 282, 288, 

B59, 862 
Ispahan, 287, 878, 880 


Jam, 292, 829 

Jamshidis, the, 868 

Jaxartes, the, vide Syr Daria 

Jehangir, 228 

Jellalabad, 842 

Jenghiz Khan, 9, 110, 180, 162, 

Jenkinson, Anthony, 162, 188, 192, 

197, 287 
Jews in Central Asia, the, 96, 97, 

114, 172-8, 249, 250 


Jilanuti Pass, 287 
Jizak, 197, 285, 287 
Jumrood, 845, 872 

KAAHKA, 298 

Kabul, 262, 282, 284, 292, 294, 
297, 306, 309, 324, 828, 330, 841, 
848, 848, 352, 864, 868-9, 871-8 
Kadjar Khan, 112, 132 
Kafiristan, 829, 342 
Kandahar, 111, 120, 262, 267-70, 
295, 804, 809, 321, 324, 346, 348, 
852, 858, 859, 864, 869, 371 
Kansk, 263 
Kara Kul, 153, 186,205 

> lake, 842 

> Kum, the, 69, 70, 73-5, 102, 

385, 408 
Karibent, 401 
Kara, 289 

Karshi, 188, 184, 217, 329 
Karun, the, 375, 381 
Kashgar, 254 
Kashgariana, the, 249 
Kashmir, 292, 297, 829, 841-2, 


Kasili Bend, 115 
Katta Kurgan, 205, 242, 305 
Kaufmann, General, 85, 136, 156, 
241, 243,246,292, 294, 806, 827, 
328-9, 335, 396, 482 
Kavkas newspaper, the, 281, 389 
Kazalmsk, 279, 400 
Kazan jik, 54 

Kelat-i-Nadiri, 101-2, 287, 874 
Kerki, 124, 147, 149, 150, 262, 264, 

284, 297, 305, 306 
Kermineh, 158, 197, 204 
Khabarooka, 263 
Khamiab, 264, 865 
Khanikoff, Nic. de, 168, 178, 185 
Khiva, 43, 69, 97, 110, 165, 252, 

254, 256, 275, 281, 818, 408-5 
Khivans, the, 114, 115 
Khoi, 288 
Khojak Pass, 377 
Khojent, 254, 255, 408 
Khokand, 242, 256, 273, 818, 405 - 
Khorasan, 69, 98, 97,98, 101, 122, * 
198, 275, 278, 287, 302, 808, 304, 
883, 874-6 
Khruleff, General, 825-6 




Khulm, 348*360, 865 
Khwaja Amran Mountains, 846, 

Kala, 882 
Khyber Pass, 845 
Kibitkas, Turkoman, 78, 97 
Kiepert, Herr, 404 

Kilif, 262, 297, 806 

Kirghiz, the, 96, 114, 172, 285, 

249, 898, 896 
Kirman, 880 
Kizil Art Pass, 842 

Arvat, 88, 40, 41, 48-4, 49, 55, 
61, 72, 295, 298 

Takir, 85 
Koh-i-baba, 860 

Kohik, the, vide Zerafshan * 

Kohistan, 252 

Koktash, the, 215, 216 

Kolab, 842 

Komaroff, General, 17, 44, 94, 112, 

116, 125, 129, 181, 198, 201, 816 
Kopet Dagh, the, 68, 98 
Kostenko, M., 252 
Koushid Khan Kala, 45, 106, 112, 


Kozelkoff, Colonel, 81 
Kozlof, Lieutenant, 250 
Krasnovodsk, 32, 88, 66, 89, 90, 

96, 278, 298, 295, 301 
Krestovski, M., 222 
Kuchan, 90, 98, 286, 874 
Kuhsan, 266, 883 
Kulja, 251, 252, 387 
Kunduz, 860 
Kungans, 187 
Kuren Dagh, the, 68 
Kurgan, 263 
Kurgans, 74 

Kuropatkin, General, 80, 258, 831 
Kurrachi, 809, 346, 878 
Kurum Valley, 845, 873 
Rush Begi of Bokhara, 158, 179, 

180, 203 
Kushk, battle of the, 44, 94, 97, 

128, 295, 316, 362, 364 

LANSDELL, Rev. Dr., 4, 18, 166, 

172, 217, 222, 421, 442 
Lash Juwain, 880 
Lawrence, Lord, 868 
Lessar, Paul, 41, 265 


Lesseps, Ferdinand de, 85, 86, 


Lhasa, 251-2 
Littledale, St. G., 18 
Lomakin, General, 37, 85, 295, 819 
Lumsden, Sir P., 94, 181 
Lundi Kotal, 872 
Lutfabad, 91, 100 

MAASUM, vide Shah Murad 
MacGregor, Sir C., 4, 101, 111, 

121, 295, 297, 306, 813, 842, 870, 

875, 888 

McNeill, Sir J., 268 
Mahometanism in Central Asia, 

99, 171, 193, 878, 898 
Maili Khan, 132 
Maimena, 149, 275, 282, 844, 860, 


Makdum Kuli Khan, 79, 131 
Manchuria, 410 
M andeville, Sir J., 211 
Mangishlak, 96 
Marghilan, 329, 348 
Martin, Joseph, 252 
Marvin, Charles, 7, 11, 42, 111, 


Matsaeff, Colonel, 829 
Mayo, Earl of, 368 
Mazar-i-Sherif, 165, 848, 368 
Mazenderan, 287, 288 
Medresses, 176, 216, 218, 220-5, 


Mejoff, V. J., 248, 440 
Meruchak, 298 
Merv, 10, 13, 53, 55, 61, 87, 91, 

96, 266, 273, 298, 295, 298, 806, 

318, 842, 344, 401, 406,409, 429 

annexation of, 45, 111-2, 127 

oasis, 71, 109, 113-8, 140, 252 

administration of, 114 

trade of, 115 

irrigation of, 117 

ancient, 109, 110, 185, 188 

modern, 106-9 

Khans of, 181-2, 198, 389 

Meshed, 98, 99, 101, 111, 223, 275, 

286, 287, 326, 344, 375, 388 
Mestcherin, M., 18, 59, 146, 261 
Meyer, Naval Cadet, 80 
Michaelovsk, 39, 46, 55, 61 




Military strength of Russia, vide 

Militia, Turkoman, vide Turko- 

Mokannah, 110 

Molla, Karl, 54 

Moorcroft, Wm., 165 

Moore, T., quoted, 107, 175 

Moscow, 28, 44, 299 

Moser, Henri, 161, 222 

Mozaffur-ed-din, 156, 157, 163, 

Murad Bey, 132 

Murghab, the, 58, 106, 115, 117, 
266, 298, 844, 408 

NADIR SHAH, 188, 219, 293 

Naphtha, 80, 58, 255 

Napier, Major, 297 

Napoleon L, 824, 825 

Nasirabad, 880 

Nasrullah, 168, 165, 183 

Ney, Napoleon, 8 

Niaz Khan, 132 

Nicholas, Emperor, 825 

Nijni Novgorod, 28, 190, 256, 279, 

1 286, 800 
ffur Verdi Khan, 181, 132 

OASES, Turkoman, 71-8, 96, 802, 

Merv, vide Merv 
O'Donovan, Edmund, 4, 77, 87, 

101, 105, 111, 182, 188, 195, 892 
Oktai Khan, 162 
Omsk, 262, 805 
Orenburg, 165, 190, 214, 256, 

262 3, 279, 294, 805, 819, 828, 


Orlandi, Giovanni, 184 
Orloff, General, 824 
Orodes, 110 
Orsk, 256 
Osh, 342 

Oetolopoff, Lieutenant, 80 
Ov% polj, 18, 248, 431 
Oxus, the, 9, 82, 85, 46, 55, 68, 
' 148-6, 278, 290, 292, 297, 805, 

852, 858, 861 

t>ridge, 46, 53, 146-8, 819 

old beds, 68, 70, 403-5 

Oxus flotilla, 148-50, 264 

Pall Mall Gazette, 291 
Pamir, the, 145, 252, 297, 308, 329, 

345, 431 

Paropamisus Mountains, 266 
Parthians, the, 110 
Pashino, Dr., 186, 340 
Passports, 30 
Pathans, the, 368 
Paul, Emperor, 324 
Pavloff, General, 9 
Peiwar Kotal, 828, 373 
Penjakent, 229, 255 
Penjdeh, 44, 94, 96, 113, 115, 121, 

183, 252, 266-7, 278-4, 293, 818 
Persia, 275, 285, 298, 825, 867, 


trade with, 287-91, 376, 407 

railways in, 875-7, 879-81 

British policy towards, 374-81 
Persian mountains, the, 56, 68, 


frontier, the, 68, 98, 100, 101, 

army, 876 

Gulf, 877 

Persians, the, 96, 97, 114, 119, 172, 

198, 249, 800, 803-4, 876 
Peshawur, 342, 345, 847, 372 

Conference, the, 368 

Peter the Great, 11, 28, 269, 404, 


Petro Alexandrovsk, 149, 829 
Petropavlosk, 256 
Petrovsk, 2, 299 
Petrusevitch, General, 88, 335, 


Pevtsoff, Colonel, 262 
Pishin, 321, 834, 346* 872, 377, 


Poklefski, M., 117, 118 
Poles, the, 114, 171 
Polo, Marco, 10, 163, 182 
Porsa Kala, 107 
Possolskaia, 263 

Pottinger, Eldred, 825, 369* 
Prjevalski, General, 250-2, Bll 
Pul-i-Khatun, 266, 298, 296, 298, 





QUETTA, 269, 296, 334, 346, 377, 

Quintus Curtius, 141, 161 

RAILWAYS, Central Asian, 34-6 

De^cauville, 40, 58 

Sind-Pishin, 40, 50, 846 

Indo-Bussian, 18, 100, 267-71 

Persian, 875-7, 879-81 

Euphrates Valley, 378 
Transcaspian, vide Transcas- 

pian Railway 

Bawlinson, Sir H., 157, 161, 884 
Bawul Pindi, 845, 847 
Resht, 375 

Beshta, the, 195-7, 248 
Bidgeway, Sir W., 180, 865 
Bighistan of Bokhara, 182-8 

of Samarkand, 216, 218, 220 
Boads in Central Asia, 400 
Boberts, Sir F., 812, 828 
Boborovski, Lieutenant, 250 
Bomanovski, General, 317, 840, 

Bosenbach, General, 17, 19, 147, 

150, 241-4, 261 
Boshan, 358 
Bozgonoff, Colonel, 828 
Russian designs upon India, 11, 

12, 315, 819-823 

invasion of India, 297, 323-38, 

illusions about India, 884-41 

character, 20, 21, 22, 28, 25, 
92, 230, 276, 317, 888-9, 892 -5 

prestige, 270, 276, 866-8 

commercial policy, 279 et seq. 

Government, 24, 816, 401 
Russians in Central Asia, the, 119, 

171, 174, 198, 227, 240, 252, 
253, 259, 267, 296, 366, 888-5, 
et Chap. X. passim- 
Buy de Clavijo, vide Clavijo 

SAMANXDS, the, 162 

Samarkand, 1, 2, 45, 61, 62, 99, 
109, 125, 148, 197, 207, 208, 
210-32, 242, 248, 256, 261, 278, 
297, 805, 899, 896, 400, 429 

district, 210 

monuments, 211 


Samarkand, modern, 212-4 

public buildings, 213 

citadel, 216 

Bighistan, 216, 218, 220 

prison, 217 

ancient, 217 

medresses, 220-1 

population, 280 
Sandeman, Sir B., 868 
Sands, the, 65, 56, 108-4, 140-8 
Sanjur Sultan, 110, 186 
Sarakhs, 96, 100, 118, 121, 188, 

252, 266, 273-4, 298, 294, 296, 
298, 818, 888, 401 

Saratov, 299 

Sari Batir Khan, 182 

Sarik Turkomans, vide Turko- 

Sari Yazi, 298 

Sarts, the, 239, 243, 244, 249 

Sary Kamisk lakes, 403-4 

Saxaoul, the, 57, 75, 142 

Schuyler, Eugene, 4, 158, 166, 184, 
190, 217, 221, 242, 248 

Sebzewar, 268 

Seistan, 377, 879-80 

Seljuks, the, 110, 186, 162 

S4in<*noff, M., 66, 248, 248, 259 

Semipalatinsk, 256 

Sernirechinsk, 256, 410 

Sericulture, 254, 407 

Shadman Melik, 286 

Shah of Persia, the, 98, 374, 876, 

Jehan, 228 

Murad, 137, 168, 194 

Zindeh, 218, 226-7 
Shahrud, 287, 804 
Shakespear, Richmond, 4, 111 
Sheibani Mehemmed Khan, 163 
Shibergan, 282, 860 
Shignan, 358 

Shinwarris, the, 868 

Shir Ali, 252, 295, 828, 880, 856, 

861, 864, 868 
Shir Dar Medresse, 220 
Shiraz, 228, 878, 380 
Siah-Koh, 860 
Siakh Push, 112 
Siberia, 253, 254, 4C8 
Sibi, 846 

Simonitch, Count, 268 
Sind-Pishin Railway, 44, 50, 8^6 




Siripul, 282, 860 

Skobeleff, General, 10, 87-40, 78, 
76, 78-92, 111, 126, 128, 129, 
188, 298, 802, 807, 822, 824, 
884, 885, 860, 889, 896-7, 400 

on the Transcaspian Kail- 
way, 40, 42, 48 

character of, 84, 86-92 

scheme for invasion of 

India, 822-8, 827-80 

Slavery in Bokhara, 160 

Soboleff, General, 811, 886 

Stewart, Colonel G., 4 

Stoddart, Colonel, 8, 110, 165, 179, 

Stolietoff mission, the, 292, 828 

St. Petersburg, 15, 28, 262, 277 

Stretensk, 268 

Sukkur, 846-7 

Sultan Bend, the, 117 

Syr Daria, the, 85, 288, 255, 261 

province, 268, 254, 257, 

TABRIZ, 287, 288, 289 

Taganrog, 824 

Tajiks, the, 158, 171, 285, 274 

Takhta Bazar, 294, 298, 401 

Taldik Pass, 842 

Tamerlane or Timour, 186, 142, 

144, 168, 176, 211, 218, 217, 

222, 225, 281, 880 

tomb of, 218-20 

gates of, 285, 287 
Tarantass, the, 288 
Targanoif, 858 

Tashkent, 84, 124, 214, 282, 235, 
289-50, 256, 261, 268, 285, 292, 
805, 840, 400, 406 

population and society, 239, 

Government House, 248 
- public buildings, 245-8 

museum, 247 

native city, 249, 260 
Tashkurgan, 806, 848 
Tcharikoff, M., 160, 170, 185, 189 
Tcharjui,45, 68, 55, 148, 145, 148, 

161, 262, 264, 805, 829, 848, 408 
Tohernaieif, General, 11, 48, 241, 

246, 249, 292, 817, 885 
Tchikishliar, 88, 298 


Tchinaz, 235, 288 

Tchiraktchi, 159 

Tchirtchik, the, 238 

Teheran, 101, 268, 275, 287, 804, 

332, 874-5 
Tejend, the, 53, 102, 302, 403, vide 

also Heri Bud 

oasis, the, 71, 96, 102, 131, 252 
Tekme Sirdar, 79 

Terentieff, Captain, 337 
Tergukasoff, General, 87 
Thai Chotiali, 846 
Thibet, 251 

Thompson, George, 164 
Thomson, Taylour, 4, 111 
Tiflis, 2, 16, 29, 294, 299, 429 
Tillah Kari medresse, 220, 222 
Times Correspondent, the, 6, 18, 

114, 184, 190, 272 
Tochi Pass, 345 
Todd, D'Arcy, 369 
Tomsk, 263 
Transcaspia, province of, 45, 95, 

281, 292, 293, 802, 874 

climate of, 75 

population of, 96, 252 

resources of, 96 

taxation of, 97, 281 

commerce of, 99 
Transcaspian Railway, the, litera- 
ture of, 7 

origin, 37 

commencement, 40 

completion, 45, 811 

military character, 47-8 

material, 48 

workmen, 49 

method of construction, 51 

cost, 52 

facilities, 68 

speed, 54 

difficulties, 54-8 

rolling-stock, 59, 60, 272 

stations, 61 

duration and cost of journey, 

attitude of natives, 154-5, 

180, 215 

extensions, 238, 261-71 

favourable estimate, 271-2 

political effects, 278-6 

commercial effects, 276-91, 





Transcaspian Railway, strategical 

effects, 291-810, 871 

Russian views of, 810-12 

Travellers in Central Asia, British, 

4, 101, 111, 164-6 
Trebeck, George, 165 
Trebizond, 289, 290 
Troitsk, 256 
Tsaritsin, 299 
Turis, the, 878 
Turkestan, 34, 273, 274, 278, 281, 

292, 293, 402, 406, 409 

population of, 252-3 

resources and trade of, 253-6, 

government of, 257-8 

budget of, 258 

military strength of, 305 

Gazette, the, 279, 280 

Afghan, vide Afghan 
Turkoman horses, 73, 129, 130 

militia, the, 127-30 
Turkomania, 34, 265, 273-5 
Turkomans, Tekke, the, 37, 49, 50, 

79, 83-4, 92 3, 103, 107, 111, 
113, 172, 892 
character of, 118-20 

Yomud, 85, 275 

Sank, 96, 107, 113, 133 

Salor, 96, 113, 133, 275 

Goklan, 275 

Ersari, 275 

Alieli, 275 

Chadar, 275 

Emrali, 275 

Ata, 275 

Uzun Ada, 32, 46, 54, 55, 60, 61, 
68-6, 152, 281, 299, 801 

VAMBKRY, AKMINIUS, 4, 7, 160, 164, 

166, 883 

Vanoffski, General, 17, 27 
Verestchagin, V., 89 
Verny, 251 
Vitkievitch, 325 
Vladikavkaz 2, 27, 299 

Petrovsk railway, 2 

Tiflis railway, 2 
Vladivostok, 268 
Vlangali, General, 17 
VogUe", Vicomte de, 8 
Volga, the, 2, 48, 299 

WAKHAN, 858 

Water in Transcaspia, 54, 55, 402 
Wolff, Dr. Joseph, 8, 4, 110, 111, 


Yasin, 342 

Yate, Captain A. C., 102, 131, 869, 


Major C. E., 7, 867, 369 
Yenghi Kala, 79 
Yezd, 380 

Yomuds, the, vide Turkomans 
Ynletan, 96, 118, 115, 183, 252, 

Yussuf Khan, 132 

UjFALVY-BouRDON, Madame de, 

216, 221, 244 
Ulug Beg, 220, 235, 237 
Umballa Conference, 368 
Ura Tepe, 897 
Uzbegs, the, 153, 163, 285, 865, 


ZEEAFSHAN, the, 153, 197, 202, 205, 
229, 236, 248, 261 

canals and irrigation, 205-6, 

province, 252-8, 255, 257 
Zinovieff, M., 17, 382, 885, 486 
Zlatoust, 263 

Zulfikar, 100, 344 

f&oltistfoo tc & Co. Printers, New-Ureet Square, London.